Laika Rolling Stone

There is no place more dangerous place to be in Hollywood than on a dilettante’s payroll. However well-intentioned the dilettante, however talented, however, driven they might be–at some point if it isn’t at least 30% about the money, this business just gets too hard. Making, marketing, financing, and selling movies is a business that will break and humiliate you in a zillion ways. Not to mention dealing every day with the heartwarming group of geniuses who staff this business. If you don’t on some level need to be doing it, the day will come when you get tired or broken, or sick of fighting. When whatever genuine creative inspiration you brought to Hollywood has been trampled on by the whims of fate and undeserving popcorn eaters and you finally turn the card over in your head: There has to be a better way. Too bad then if you’re one of

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THE ANKLER’S EXCLUSIVE WEEK OF DESTINY TIP SHEET

Entertainment history was made yesterday. Or maybe it was ended. The starting gun sounded on the dismantling of some major slice of the entertainment industry–and all the institutional knowledge, traditions, real estate, and jobs that go with that. The poohbahs, the conglomerates and the tech giants are off and running, vying to build up a big enough war chest to lock up a seat in the Great Entertainment Semi-Finals. Here’s your tip sheet to the drama that lays ahead as so many sit and wait for history to happen to them. RANDALL STEPHENSON: He’s the no-nonsense accountant from Texas, ready to ride down Main Street Showbiz and clean up this town. But even with Time Warner, has he got what it takes to fight it out with the big bad streamers? Warners Film and TV + HBO + Turner + DirecTV + a bunch of cables and cell towers = The

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JORDAN PEELE’S GARGOYLE DREAMS MEET DISNEY’S BIG IP REALITY

This month we’re going to see the media get very confused about what story to tell about Disney. It could focus solely on the upside: Incredibles 2 is about to make something northward of a gazillion and a half dollars, reminding everyone of the power of these brands when executed at the level Disney can still execute. On the one hand: you’ve got a shopping cart overflowing with fiascos and more curses unfolding than one company should have to bear. Losing John Lasseter in such a drawn-out manner certainly counts as a fiasco. What he does next may count as a wrecking ball. That said, to paraphrase a recovery catchphrase, they’ve got problems in areas where other studios don’t have areas. This month we’ve seen a couple of downsides of the Big IP game. The first one, from the Solo experience, is clear: When you concentrate all your chips in the Big IP game,

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LASSEDAMMERUNG! DISNEY’S LAW OF THE JUNGLE CRUISE

The moment of decision approaches on the Fate of John Lasseter. At stake is more than the management of one animation division. This is the precedent-setting crossroads: On the line here is whether Me Too remains on the march or starts to be swept under the red carpet. Not to mention, incidentally, the fates of two or three studios. After an initially blasé reaction, the battle has been raging over the past week with increasing volume inside and out, as a social media Stop John movement has gained traction.  Over the past few days, the #LoseLasseter hashtag has been catching fire on Twitter; contributors include people from across the animation industry and even, shockingly for a company that brooks no public dissent, some Disney employees sprinkled in among the protesters. (I’ll let you find them yourself rather than draw undo attention to them.) And now, because of one obscure pebble in

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Dark Day in Mousetown

This is a preview of today’s edition of The Ankler, the entertainment industry’s most feared newsletter. Remember all the way back to yesterday morning when a mere disappointment was the worst thing that could happen to a company like Disney? What a difference a Tweet makes! Remember last week when all CEO IP Bob had to worry about was his still uncertain path to victory against Netflix in the Great Entertainment Semi-Finals, how to finesse a Lasseter return, and Comcast’s challenge to his Fox acquisition? As of this week, you can add to that: canceling his network’s top-rated show and suddenly, concerns about one of the major tentpoles of his whole corporate strategy, Lucasfilm. (Okay, if you want to really get mean, you can throw in that once we get past the Incredibles 2, Disney has a suddenly very iffy release calendar for the next 12 months). That’s a lot

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A NETFLIXONIMICS CASE STUDY: THE BEN-GLE HAS LANDED

THE LATEST VERY SPECIAL ISSUE OF THE ANKLER FEATURES TRUE TALES FROM THE STREETS OF HOLLYWOOD IN THE TIME OF THE APP.  BELOW IS A BRIEF PREVIEW OF ONE OF THESE STORIES: Who doesn’t love a good bonfire? And a bonfire of cash! Well, that’s not just entertainment, that’s an accomplishment. Which seems to be the working frame of reference for the entire world when talking about Netflix. Look at the mountains of cash they are willing to set on fire – now thatis a company! (Especially if somewhere in those mountains of cash are bags full of FYC advertising dollars). They made a hundred movies to no discernible effect or public response…Well, let’s watch them make 200!  200 bigger movies! We’ll let directors spend more money than they ever dreamed of! As Mike Fleming put it yesterday, Netflix “is doing too many risky things on the feature front to be defined derogatorily

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France Like No One is Watching

In another age, if Hollywood’s priciest annual boondoggle turned into a turgid public debacle, it might not have been such a big deal. Back in the 90’s, to send half the industry around the world for two weeks of grim headlines about the collapse of the international film world might not have been so bad – hey, what’s a few tens of millions if the troops had fun. But the incongruity becomes glaring in these days of austerities and cutbacks and housekeeping deals sent packing, for Hollywood to still spend millions  on an event that gets headlines, from the Trade. Press no less..like this:   “It wasn’t just the shadow of disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein casting a pall over the proceedings. Everywhere you looked, there were clear signs that the old thrill is gone.”  When THR says thrill is gone from a Hollywood mega-event, you can put your money that the thrill has cleaned

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Robert Iger: The People’s Choice?

Since the 2016 election, there can’t be a tycoon left in America who doesn’t wake up, look in the mirror and see the 46th President of the United States. In Hollywood, the name of one CEO has seemed to many such an obvious leader of the free world, that no less an august personage than Oprah, a President in waiting in her own right, reported that she begged him to run.  By her account she “really, really pushed him to run for president, so much so that I said to him, ‘Gee, if you ever decide to run for office, I will go door to door carrying leaflets. I will go sit and have tea with people.’” It’s easy to see why Hollywood believes the Iger coronation as close to inevitable as politics can get.  A man who could imagineer the acquisitions of Marvel, Pixar and Lucas and lead the company to

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WHAT HAPPENED IN VEGAS

It’s been almost a week since I said farewell to CinemaCon, having departed Wednesday afternoon, post-the Universal presentation. I’ve had some time now to digest all I saw, heard and of course, ate and before we turn the page, having heard the theatrical industry’s vigorous defense of the theatrical experience, I had  some final reflections: • In recent years, CinemaCon has been the scene of some dramatic squabbles about the window, formats and where this industry is headed – all the issues roiling the film world. This year: not a bit of that: No fighting, no disagreement, no reference to any of the questions or issues looming over the industry. Apart from the Fox presentation, where it would’ve been slightly odd not to make some reference, not even a nod of the head to the fact that one-sixth of our studios have disappeared since the last gathering and that another

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HOLLYWOOD DANCES AROUND THE DONALD

Things are getting weird in Donald Trump’s Hollywood. And it is Donald Trump’s Hollywood, because the shadow of this Presidency is starting to fall everywhere upon it: whether, in whispers and rumors, or in major plays to keep on the right side of or ahead of an administration that wishes nothing good to the industry at large. While talent may pose as The Resistance, this is certainly not a fight the corporate overlords would have chosen. At a time when the poohbahs are trying to claw out a future for Hollywood, trouble from Washington is the last thing they want. Trump didn’t bring about this moment of total insecurity for Hollywood. It’s not because of Donald Trump that the streaming onslaught began, that Harvey Weinstein was exposed, that movie marketing costs are exploding through the stratosphere. But add to that a new element of instability and uncertainty, and you have Donald Trump’s Hollywood, in a bottle. Here

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