Spielberg, Scorsese, and PTA calling. They're furious.
And plot details for new 'Star Wars' movie
What to know
Spielberg, Scorsese, and PTA set emergency call with David Zaslav after WBD gutted TCM… Imagine getting a sudden phone call from the world’s best filmmakers, but they’re mad at you. WBD laid off a bunch of executives at Turner Classic Movies yesterday and in the process pissed off the wrong people. While linear cable is dying, TCM is one of the last bastions of film history so naturally, someone like Scorsese might be angry. What’s hilarious about this though is that WBD was just trying to repair its relationship with filmmakers. David Zaslav and company wanted the director community to know they are welcome now after the previous WB administration released all of its 2021 movies on streaming. WB was even trying to get Christopher Nolan back! Good luck with that. The latest update is that Spielberg and company are “encouraged” by their talks with Zaslav. 📞
Upgrade to a full Pop Culture Brain Daily subscription for $1/month or $6/year.
New Star Wars movie reportedly called Star Wars: New Jedi Order and it’s… “Set roughly 15 years after Rey’s victory over Palpatine and the end of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The sequel delves into Rey's courageous endeavor to restore the Jedi Order, where she assumes the role of a mentor to two promising young students—a girl and a boy. As their training progresses, it becomes evident that the girl possesses an extraordinary abilities, destined to emerge as the future leader.” Sounds a bit like Last Jedi and the student duo has me wondering if Star Wars will return to its one light/one dark theme. Up until now it was unclear how big of a role Daisy Ridley’s Rey would have in this movie, but now it seems it’s significant. So if you like Rey, like I do, it’s great. If you don’t, like many others, this is more perplexing. ✨
The Flash box office “disaster” exposes WB’s $1.1 billion DC problem… By rebooting the DCEU into James Gunn’s DCU, WB essentially hung its 4 remaining DCEU films out to dry. Variety reports that Shazam 2, The Flash, Blue Beetle, and Aquaman 2 have a combined $1.1B cost — and so far, WB is 0 for 2 at the box office. Are Blue Beetle and Aquaman 2 really going to turn things around? Not likely. Some are saying that audiences aren’t interested in these 2023 installments because their canon is about to be wiped clean by Gunn. I think that’s overstating the issue, which is really that these movies need to be better. Period. ⚡️
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse swings past $500M at the global box office… Case in point. Deliver something new, fresh, authentic, and artistic and boom, you get a global smash hit. I do think DC is leaning in the right direction by hiring Safran and Gunn — but the stakes are higher than ever, because audiences are no longer putting up with bargain basement superhero content just because it’s superhero content. 🕷️
Studio behind Secret Invasion’s AI credit sequence says no human jobs were lost in the process… This is good and how it should be. Use AI as a tool, not a replacement. That said, the optics of Marvel using AI at this moment were and are not good. The fact that the studio that made the credit sequence had to put out this statement is proof of that. 🤖
The Academy is requiring Best Picture hopefuls to be in more theaters… The Oscars just shot across the bow of Netflix in support of the theatrical experience. While previous Best Pic eligibility required one week in a theater in NY or LA, movies will now have to play for least 7 days in 10 of the top 50 U.S. markets. This is a big win for those of us who like seeing movies in theaters! 🏆
Andrew Barth Feldman’s first time seeing an R-rated movie in theaters was seeing himself at the premiere for No Hard Feelings… This is both adorable and telling about Hollywood right now. He’s only 21 years old, so when he became of age to see R-rated movies (pandemic times), there haven’t been many options for him, especially comedies. 😮
Black Panther 2 star Tenoch Huerta exits Netflix movie after sexual assault allegations… As far as the public knows, he isn’t officially cast in any upcoming Marvel movies — and likely now won’t be. 👎
Kennedy Center Honors to celebrate Dionne Warwick, Billy Crystal, Queen Latifah, Barry Gibb, and Renée Fleming this year… That’s a solid list. No notes. 🌈
Emmys face possible delay due to ongoing writers strike… You don’t say. 🪧
Secret Invasion — June 21 | Marvel Disney+ show | 🍅66%
I’m A Virgo — June 23 | Amazon absurdist comedy series | 🍅 96%
Asteroid City — June 23 | Wes Anderson film in theaters | 🍅 75%
No Hard Feelings — June 23 | Jennifer Lawrence comedy film in theaters | 🍅 64%
What to watch
Ignore the box office trends and misleading marketing, Pixar’s Elemental is excellent and more than worthy of your time. This immigration allegory by way of Pixar’s penchant for anthropomorphization is beautiful inside and out — and no, it has nothing to do with Inside Out. The film is as stunning, if not more so, than Pixar’s entire ouvre. There are some jaw-on-the-floor moments in here that director Peter Sohn and company have gorgeously designed, painted, and rendered. It presents so much more than what at first glance looks like the blobby Pixar designs we’re used to. This being Pixar—and a 2023 animated film aimed at all audiences—it also includes countless sight gags, playing off of the different elements. Elemental's story and themes match its magnificent imagery. While Disney’s marketing would have you believe this was just a goofy romcom, the movie is actually about the immigrant struggle and the tensions between parents who have come to a new land and their first-generation children. It’s as much about Ember’s relationship with her father as it is her romance with Wade. Through this Pixar and Sohn are able to explore big ideas about racism, ghettoization, and assimilation. Of course, those don’t fit neatly into a trailer. There’s a lot more here than meets the eye, and while Elemental might be one of Pixar’s worst box office debuts, it’s among its best movies.