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Gal Gadot’s Heart of Stone and 109M

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(Today’s edition is abridged as we wind down for Memorial Day)

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

Netflix is engaged, Dennis Quaid has substance, Michel Gondry’s solutions, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice and a donkey named Napoleon.

Let’s go!


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Netflix released its second engagement report that detailed the number of hours each of its shows/films had been viewed in the last six months of 2023.

It continues to be a moment of slightly obfuscated transparency (films that debuted six months ago will have had more runway to rack up views). Netflix ultimately wins as their numbers dwarf everyone in the industry.

Top 5 most watched movies, ranked by views:

It’s great to see Ethan Hawke, Julia Roberts, Adam Sandler, and Pierce Brosnan at the top of the ranking of Netflix’s most-watched stars. If those watch hours were translated into Hollywood box-office dollars, the world would be a different place.

Netflix, looking to bring more titles to its arsenal, bought one of the first major Palme d’Or contenders at Cannes, Jacques Audiard’s Emilia Perez, for $12M.

Netflix also paid $34M for Monsanto, a Michael Clayton-style film starring Glen Powell, Anthony Mackie, and Laura Dern.

Lionsgate cuts Starz and its losses. Lionsgate, now separated from Starz, has posted strong (fiscal) Q4 2024 numbers.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • $1.1bn revenue
    • ↑ 3%
  • $39.5 M loss
    • 59% reduction
  • $469.3 M TV revenue
    • ↑ 61%
  • $410 M Movie revenue
    • ↓ 23%

Jon Feltheimer CEO of Lionsgate stated:

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we also made some lower budget movies specifically for Starz…And we’re talking about that and thinking about the calculus for how that works.” 

The Lionsgate Studios separation from Starz is expected to be finalized at the end of the year.

Paramount Global agreed to a new deal with Charter Communications—a leading provider of cable TV and internet services.

Key points: Charter gets free, Ad-supported versions of:

  • Paramount+ Essential
  • BET+ Essential

Carriage negotiations, which determine the terms under which a cable operator like Charter can broadcast a content provider’s channels, are critical as Charter currently distributes Paramount’s content to its 32 M subscribers.

The agreement averted immediate programming disruptions. And it was a big post-Bob Barish win for Paramount.

Tidbit:

Judd Apatow, after leaving UTA after three decades, has signed up with WME. Hopefully, they’ll have more luck in this climate, as big-budget comedies are seen as a riskier investment as the public’s viewing hours for that medium have shifted towards social media and stand-up. Case in point, only one non-animated pure comedy film on Netflix’s engagement report ranks in the top 50: Old Dads (#22).

New platform launches to report on-set misconduct. Check out the MyConnext resource here.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

At 70 years old, Dennis Quaid is working a lot and taking on some weird roles. Most notably, a few high-profile sci-fi. First off, The Substance just had its Cannes debut earlier this week. He plays Harvey, the sleazy producer of daytime TV Sparkle Your Life, who has the bright idea to replace its aging starlet (Demi Moore) with someone younger.

In the film, Quaid proclaims:

“This is network TV, not charity.”

The ousting spurs her to find any means necessary to become younger; even cloning… body horror commences.

Quaid will also star in the recently announced This Blue is Mine, where he will take on the role of a father accidentally dating an alien (Elizabeth Debicki). While the premise sounds a bit like a sitcom at first, it’s described as a psychosexual sci-fi drama, so you know things are about to get strange.​

Quaid will also star as the real-life “Happy Face” killer whose M.O. was to write anonymous notes to the media confessing his crimes, signing each with a smiley face.

Quaid, who has never been nominated for an Oscar, seems to be having a late-career resurgence. Hopefully, one of these projects will put him on the Academy’s radar.

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, DON’T SAY IT! The sequel to the Burton Horror Comedy has finally released a full trailer. Showing off its new (Jenna Ortega) and returning cast (Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara), each playing a different generation of the Deetz family whose attic holds a portal to the underworld and houses Michael Keaton’s Demon of the titular name. Keaton seems to be settling well back into the grime-covered shoes. Perhaps the most charming aspect of the trailer is the decision to lean heavily on 80’s VFX for some of the creatures, claymation and practical effects give the surreal underworld a kitschy nostalgia. It looks like a rare sequel that celebrates its grimy upbringing, embraces its jank, and celebrates the hole it crawled out of.​

In theaters September 6th.

Eddie Murphy is back in Beverly Hills. He originated the character of Axel Foley in the fish-out-water cop-comedy Beverly Hills Cop (1984, trailer)The film grossed a monster $316M, ignited Murphy’s film career, and spurned two sequels (1987, 1994).​

Netflix just dropped the full trailer to Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F, the fourth installment.

It’s hard to glean from the trailer if Murphy can still retain his off-the-charts charisma from the original, but if it’s even a modicum, then the sequel could have the same skyrocketing effect on his career.

Release date: July 3rd.


FESTIVALS

Cannes Directors Fortnight winners:

Synopsis:

After 15 years as a couple, Ale and Alex decide to throw a party to celebrate their separation, leaving their loved ones perplexed.

Synopsis:

Two women find frozen cash, try to retrieve it. A tour guide leads confused tourists around Winnipeg sites. A man quits his job, visits his mother. Storylines intertwine surreally as identities blur in a disorienting comedy.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

French filmmaker Michel Gondry’s The Book of Solutions was acquired by AI firm Flawless, XYZ Films (Mandy), and Tea Shop Productions (The Fall). The film not only had its world premiere at the Directors’ Fortnight section at last year’s Cannes Festival but is Gondry’s first directorial feature in seven years.

Official synopsis:

Marc (Pierre Niney), a bipolar and paranoid filmmaker, is having trouble with his latest project. With his editor as an accomplice, he manages to spirit away the rushes to his aunt’s place in the Cévennes to finish the film as he envisions it. Instead, its completion is constantly postponed, as he creates endless diversions and impasses, which alternate between the comic and the downright disturbing.

Here’s the trailer.

XYZ Films EVP James Shapiro said:

“There is no greater privilege than working on a Michel Gondry film. He is a true artist and The Book of Solutions is a personal journey which allows audiences a glimpse directly into his thinking and his process.”

Known for his inventive visual style, Gondry won Best Original Screenplay for his 2004 beautifully heart-wrenching film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which he also directed.

EP behind Cannes’ trending horror film, The Substance, joins Toni Collette’s upcoming feature A French Pursuit (dir: Catherine Hardwicke, Twilight).

Here’s the official synopsis:

British art teacher Zoe Turner’s romantic getaway plans are shattered when rebel Jean-Louis disappears. With donkey Napoleon’s help, Zoe pursues Jean-Louis through the scenic Cévennes, encountering new friends and challenges.

In addition to working closely with The Substance director, French film veteran Nicolas Royer has worked as a location manager and a producer on more than 30 films in and beyond France, including:

  • Marie-Antoinette (2006)
    • Dir: Sofia Coppola
  • Dheephan (2015)
    • Dir: Jacques Audiard
    • Winner: Palme d’Or
  • Madame Claude (2021)
    • Netflix drama

A French Pursuit will be released under Voulez-Vous Production Services, a France-based production company founded in 2023 by Royer.


ON THIS DAY

1979. 32nd Cannes Film Festival: Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and Die Biechtrommel, directed by Volker Schlondorff, jointly awarded the Palme d’Or.


That’s all for the week. We’re off for Memorial Day.

See you Tuesday.


Written by Gabriel Miller, Spencer Carter, and Madelyn Menapace.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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