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Lion King of cinema

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

From Moonlight to Mufasa, Noomi Rapace’s reckoning, Sundance 2024 screenwriter fellows, Darren Aronofsky’s prodigy, and Cleopatra.

Let’s go!


Barry Jenkins’ Best Picture winner, Moonlight (2016), is a careful dissection of lost innocence.

The main character’s cycles of childhood abuse and teenage ostracization catalyze his hardened adulthood.

Jenkins’ new film, Disney’s live-action version of Mufasa: Lion King, is a more optimistic origin story.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Simba, having become king of the Pride Lands, is determined for his cub to follow in his paw prints while the origins of his late father, Mufasa, are explored.

Jenkins explained:

“As I was reading this wonderful script, I was thinking about Mufasa, and why he’s great, and how people become great.”

Jenkins continued:

“I was on stage at the Oscars with Moonlight. And I was there, and five of my best friends from college were also there… [similarly] Mufasa is great, because of the family and the friends that he has. And so I saw myself in that. I thought: ‘This is a really beautiful story to tell.’”

What fascinates me about Mufasa: Lion King is how Jenkins will test these friendships.

What made his film Moonlight so revelatory is the protagonist is so isolated that anyone who offers him the slightest attention, be that his abusive mother, the magnanimous stand-in father figure Mahershala Ali, or a school crush, molds his trajectory.

The original Lion King (1994), if nothing else, is a story of betrayal.

It’ll be captivating to see how Jenkins tackles his first big IP studio project and if he’s able to maintain the shreds of his own origins.

Release date: Dec 20th.

For More:

Disney’s gloriously tame Mufasa: Lion King teaser trailer.

Mufasa’s death in Lion King (1994) was hard to watch, no matter your age. What shocked me on a second watch was how well it was directed.

Moonlight (2016) trailer.


Francis Ford Coppola’s much-anticipated Megalopolis dropped a first-look photo. More on this tomorrow.

Paramount Q1 earnings call. Here are the gains and losses. And the delta from Q1 2023:

  • $554 M net loss
    • ↓ from $1.1 bn
  • $286 M loss Direct to consumer
    • ↓ 44%
  • $7.68 bn revenue
    • ↑ 6%
  • ↑ 3.7 M subs
    • 71.2 M total
  • $521 M Advertising revenue
    • ↑ 31%
    • Driven by Super Bowl LVIII

Paramount’s CEO, Bob Bakish, will be replaced by:

  • George Cheeks, CBS CEO
  • Chris McCarthy, Showtime/MTV CEO
  • Brian Robbins, Paramount Pictures CEO

Nothing was mentioned on the 7-minute call about the looming acquisition, but Skydance, whose 30-day exclusive negotiating window with Paramount ends May 3rd, has given a revised offer of $3bn in cash (up by $1 bn).

This would (slightly) dampen stockholder concerns, although their vitriol threatens to dissuade Skydance CEO David Ellison.

Your favorite mystery gang is back as Netflix lands the new Scooby-Doo Live Action Series, Scooby-Doo!

The upcoming live-action series is EP’d by screenwriter Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schecter, and Leigh London Redman for Berlanti Productions, written by Josh Appelbaum and Scott Rosenberg. (Cowboy Bebop, 2o21).

Berlanti Productions and Netflix are most notably behind You, headed into its fifth and final season, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Back in 1969, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (iconic intro), the animated mystery show following a friend group of problem-solving teens Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and their talking Great Dane Scooby-Doo, originally aired on CBS before moving to ABC for several years.

Warner Bros., the IP owners, released two live-action films:

  • Scooby-Doo (2002)
  • Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed (2004)

Two more live-action TV movies, in addition to a feature focused solely on the two female members of Mystery Inc., Daphne & Velma (2018), were also distributed by Warner Bros.

We eagerly await the new Scooby-Doo, just not as badly as Scooby with those snacks.

Fallout‘s success is very impressive. The Amazon Prime TV show has not only gotten rave reviews but a rare thumbs up from gamers.

Here’s the viewership data:

  • 65 M viewers
    • Most watched Prime Title
  • 2.5 bn watch minutes
  • 93 % on RT

Fallout was recently greenlit for Season 2 and Walton Goggins’ ghoul became an unlikely sex symbol.

We eagerly await our next trip back to the wasteland.


Peacock raises their prices following their Q1 earnings call that saw an increase in revenue and a lowering of losses.

Here are their new rates:

  • Premium
    • $5.99 → $7.99
    • ↑ 33%
  • Premium Plus
    • $11.99 → $13.99
    • ↑ 16%

The raise will come on July 18 for new customers, about one month before the Paris Olympics, for which they carry exclusive rights.

This move is strategic, given their Q1 gains were due to the additions of NFL and Big Ten football on Peacock, where they saw record viewership.


Swedish actress Noomi Rapace is set to star in a psychological thriller, Reckoner, in Nissar Modi’s directorial debut.

Modi, the writer behind Z for Zachariah (2015), which premiered at Sundance and starred Margot Robbie, Chris Pine, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Here’s the official synopsis for Reckoner, for which Modi also serves as a writer:

An affluent woman’s (Rapace) carefully constructed life that is disrupted by a young man connected to a tightly held secret from her past.

Noomi Rapace is most recognized for her lead performance in the suspenseful set-in-space Ridley Scott mystery Prometheus (2012), where her character, the accomplished Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, and crew-mates David (Michael Fassbender) and Meredith (Charlize Theron), find a new structure on a distant moon, soon to realize they are not alone.

Rapace most recently starred in the Apple series Constellation (trailer), a sci-fi space thriller split up into eight episodes that premiered this past February.

Reckoner, produced by XYZ Films and Two & Two Pictures, the latter sharing their elation for the project by saying:

“We are immensely excited to join forces with an exceptionally talented team for Rone. It is an honor to have Noomi Rapace on board to complement Nissar’s electrifying directorial debut.”

After launching last May, the film will continue its world sales at the forthcoming Cannes Market starting May 14th.

Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Zoë Chao (Nightbitch) will lead the cast of Let’s Have Kids!, a feature comedy from MRC.

Adam Sztykiel, the writer behind Black Adam (2022) and Due Date (2010), is making his directorial debut alongside a major ensemble cast starting production this week.

Let’s Have Kids! tells the story of lifelong best friends Emma (Gillan) and Phoebe (Chao), who decide to try to have their first babies at the same time so they can navigate the great unknown of motherhood together, but find their friendship is deeply tested when only one of them gets pregnant.

Gillan is best known for her role as Nebula, an alien warrior and the adopted daughter of Marvel villain Thanos (Josh Brolin), who originally appeared in The Guardians of the Galaxy films, later featured in the Avengers ensemble films Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019).

The Scottish actress first gained recognition as the primary companion, Amy Pond, to the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) for three seasons in the British science fiction series Doctor Who.

She can most recently be seen in Lisa Steen’s coming-of-age drama Late Bloomers, a 2023 SXSW title distributed by Vertical.

From Oculus (2013) to Jumanji (2017) to the ever-expanding MCU, actress Karen Gillan, in her young career, has shown both her range and her star power.


Amir Jadidi is thrilling as both hero and scumbag in Cannes Grand Prix winner The Hero (2021, trailer), directed by Asghar Farhadi (A Separation). Jadidi is set to play a star tennis player, Mansour Bahrami, best known for his showmanship (still). France TV has boarded the biopic Mansour launching at the Cannes market.


Sundance 2024 screenwriters and directors fellows. Here’s a short list:

Official synopsis:

Ev is an outcast Miami hustler who believes his mother was abducted by aliens when he was a boy. When a mysterious woman descends on his community sermonizing about extraterrestrial salvation, he finds new purpose, which is soon threatened by a disgraced former government agent and a looming hurricane.

Official synopsis:

A Filipino woman determined to avenge the death of her daughter following a botched abortion finds her worldview dramatically altered after she is cursed to transform nightly into a fetus-eating creature known as the manananggal.

[Screenwriters Lab only]

Official synopsis:

Rhode Island, 1992. An entrepreneurial ex–Pan Am stewardess opens a drive-thru condom shop in her Italian Catholic town. Overnight, Emanuella DelVecchio becomes the local lightning rod, a radical hero to the neighborhood teens and an unlikely threat to her tight-knit community.

Check out the full list of fellows here.

Cannes Market addition:

  • Nuremberg
    • Starring: Russell Crowe, Rami Malek & Michael Shannon
    • Dir: James Vanderbilt (Writer/Prod: Zodiac, Prod: Abigail)
    • World Sales Rep: WME Independent

Official synopsis:

American psychiatrist Douglas Kelley (Malek) is tasked with determining whether Nazi prisoners are fit to stand trial for their war crimes and finds himself in a complex battle of wits with Hermann Göring (Crowe), Hitler’s right-hand man. All are presiding under the chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials court, Justice Robert H. Jackson (Shannon). ​

We wish the team the best of luck at the festival.


Darren Aronofsky is throwing his full support around emerging filmmakers. Along with TriStar, his company Protozoa will adapt 19-year-old Wesley Wang’s short nothing, except everything (full short) into a feature film.

Nothing, except everything is hyperbolically montaged to drive us into the cerebrum of a high schooler plagued by asking the profound questions of life: Why, when given a choice of choosing a number 1-10 do 33% of people select 7?

If you had to compare this numerological narrative to another first film, it would be Aronofsky’s Pi (re-release trailer).

It continues the trend of Aronofsky taking young filmmakers under his wing who align with his aesthetic sensibilities.

Recently, the Protozoa-produced Sundance debut feature Little Death (read The Industry’s write-up) is an experiment in extreme psychosis. It finds its own kind of beautiful maximalist montage pounded through David Schwimmer’s sweaty, hyperactive persona as he pushes through roadblocks in pursuit of his first feature film.

Wang, an 11-time chess champion and current Harvard Economics student, began making films at 11.

TriStar acquired nothing, except everything after a bidding war.


The wonderfully depraved Venice Critics Week winner Hoard (trailer) was acquired by Sunrise Films (Rachel Weisz’s The Whistleblower) for distribution.


Asterix cinematic universe. Studiocanal and Les Editions Albert René are developing a new live-action movie based on the most popular comic book in the history of France: Asterix & Obelix.

This new film will be the sixth of the live-action adaptations:

  • Asterix & Obelix Take On Caesar (1999)
  • Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (2002)
    • Starring: Monica Bellucci
  • Asterix At The Olympic Games (2008)
  • Asterix & Obelix: God Save Britannia (2012)
  • Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom (2023)
    • Starring Vincent Cassel and Marion Cotillard

Gerard Depardieu, who played Obelix for the first four movies, has not returned due to sexual assault allegations for which he will stand trial.

Asterix & Obelix follows two brave warriors who have fought against all the great armies in the world.

We look forward to their next adventure.

For a snippet of their misadventures, check out the trailer for Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom (2023).


2004. Mean Girls, starring Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams and written by Tina Fey, is released.

See you Wednesday.

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

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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