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‘Dunkirk’ Box Office: Why It Stands Little Chance of Breaking War Movie Records

20 July 2017 10:30 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Christopher Nolan’s World War II retreat-and-rescue epic “Dunkirk” has critical acclaim and is the first 2017 studio film to stand as a serious awards contender. However, it’s unlikely to become a significant player among the top war films at the box office.

Over the last decade, Nolan’s made five films that grossed $200 million-$658 million (adjusted domestic). However, while war films can still draw big numbers (Clint Eastwood’s 2014’s “American Sniper” earned $381 million, domestic adjusted), Nolan’s movie may be hampered by history.

Read More‘Dunkirk’: How Christopher Nolan Maintained Secrecy on His Set

War is the backdrop to some of the most popular films of all time, including “Star Wars” as well as “Gone With the Wind” and “The Sound of Music,” the #1 and 3 domestic grossers of all time. David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia” was more of a biography-character study, but it was an epic »

- Tom Brueggemann

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The Top 25 Box Office Blockbusters of the 21st Century

13 July 2017 7:45 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

No subjective “best” list here, this one is based on stats. As the 21st century turns 16, we’ve got the 25 biggest-grossing domestic blockbusters to date.

Check the stunning list below, which is unlike any previous period in movie business history. (We’re using adjusted totals to account for changing ticket prices. Box Office Mojo’s top 200 all-time adjusted list is here.) Here’s what we learned by doing the numbers:

The 21st Century Has Delivered Many of the Biggest Hits in History

25 of the 100 all-time biggest-grossing films have come from the first 16 years of this century. 1984 to 2000, the era that perfected the modern blockbuster and mass release of movies, brought 17. So the 21st century has been an era of major hits.

But oddly, the first current-century films on the all-time-grossers list places #11: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” And “Avatar” is #14. (This is where adjusting becomes essential — unadjusted, the ten »

- Tom Brueggemann

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Why Quentin Tarantino’s Manson Murders Project Would Be a Radical Change of Pace

12 July 2017 12:30 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

It’s safe to say that Quentin Tarantino is not happy about Tuesday’s breaking news that his next almost-finished untitled script is based on the true history of the Charles Manson murders. That’s because the writer-director, who is one of Hollywood’s great true auteurs with a unique voice that is inimitable, likes to write his screenplays in private.

Tarantino is an artist, backed by patrons Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who has routinely turned down big-studio directing gigs in order to pursue his own muse. And he can be sensitive to the slings and arrows of public opinion. That’s because he wants to leave a meaningful cinematic legacy of just 10 films. So while he could always change his mind (as Steven Soderbergh did) about his career path, Tarantino does not take lightly his choice of what those last two films will be. (The last one might be “Kill Bill: Vol. 3, »

- Anne Thompson

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Why Quentin Tarantino’s Manson Murders Project Would Be a Radical Change of Pace

12 July 2017 12:30 PM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

It’s safe to say that Quentin Tarantino is not happy about Tuesday’s breaking news that his next almost-finished untitled script is based on the true history of the Charles Manson murders. That’s because the writer-director, who is one of Hollywood’s great true auteurs with a unique voice that is inimitable, likes to write his screenplays in private.

Tarantino is an artist, backed by patrons Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who has routinely turned down big-studio directing gigs in order to pursue his own muse. And he can be sensitive to the slings and arrows of public opinion. That’s because he wants to leave a meaningful cinematic legacy of just 10 films. So while he could always change his mind (as Steven Soderbergh did) about his career path, Tarantino does not take lightly his choice of what those last two films will be. (The last one might be “Kill Bill: Vol. 3, »

- Anne Thompson

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Why Avengers: Infinity War Will Be the Highest Grossing Movie Ever

11 July 2017 9:00 PM, PDT | TVovermind.com | See recent TVovermind.com news »

At the moment, all but one of the 10 highest-grossing movies were made in this millennium. The sole exception is 1997’s Titanic, which has earned more than $2.1 billion at the box office. This is enough to have maintained it as the second highest-grossing movie, following 2009’s Avatar but preceding 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015’s Jurassic World, and 2012’s The Avengers. There are a number of potential explanations for why movies seem to be earning more and more. For example, there is the matter of inflation, which once incorporated into the calculations, reveals that Gone with the Wind

Why Avengers: Infinity War Will Be the Highest Grossing Movie Ever »

- Nat Berman

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Study: West End Musicals Are Overwhelmingly Written by Men

11 July 2017 7:01 AM, PDT | Women and Hollywood | See recent Women and Hollywood news »

“The Book of Mormon”: londonboxoffice.co.uk

London’s West End just earned a dubious honor: it’s just as inhospitable to women as Broadway. A new study from The Stage examined the West End musical productions that ran for at least three weeks from 2007 to 2016, and found that female writers are severely underrepresented — in fact, male scribes outnumber women nine to one. Women received a writing credit on only 16 percent of the West End’s last decade of musicals.

“There are so many women playwrights out there — their voices are heard and they’re writing contemporary, pertinent, compelling drama,” said “Mamma Mia!” book writer Catherine Johnson. “So for that not also to be happening in musical theater, something is really going wrong.”

Indeed. It’s hard to reconcile the news that two-thirds of the Royal Court Theatre’s new season are written or directed by women with the dismal numbers of women writing musicals. Unfortunately it’s true: Seventy-five percent of West End musicals included zero women on their writing teams, which are usually comprised of a book writer, a composer, and a lyricist. Women wrote or co-wrote just 12 percent of the books.

If you take jukebox musicals — musicals, like Carole King’s “Beautiful,” that do not use new original songs — into consideration, women wrote 18 percent of the productions’ music or lyrics. Disregarding jukebox musicals, only nine percent of the musicals boasted a female composer.

Of the 118 musicals the West End has put on during the past decade, only four of the shows’ scores were composed by one individual woman: Cyndi Lauper’s “Kinky Boots,” Jeanine Tesori’s “Shrek the Musical,” Margaret MartinGone With the Wind,” and Kath Gotts’ “Bad Girls the Musical.”

And just three of the 118 musicals were written by an all-female team: “Bad Girls,” “Gone With the Wind,” and “Viva Forever!” the book of which was penned by Jennifer Saunders (“Ab Fab”) with music and lyrics by the Spice Girls. In contrast, 88 shows were from an all-male writing team.

“The problem is that the established stable of go-to talent for any of these big-scale opportunities is still basically an almost exclusively white, male, closed shop,” Gotts told The Stage in response to the research.

Jon Bromwich, exec producer at Youth Music Theatre UK, believes that the gender disparity can be traced back to school. “Lack of role models and instruction at a young age are undoubtedly contributory. Ingrained behavior patterns may mean that young female instrumentalists stay with their instrument while males move into composition.”

Whatever the cause, there is definitely a gender problem in modern theater. It seems that every week or so a new story breaks about the obstacles women face in the field. Wellesley Centers for Women found that a glass ceiling exists for women climbing the ladder at nonprofit theaters. Actors’ Equity published research about the stronghold white men have on acting and stage management jobs. And the only new women-written plays on Broadway this season — Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat” and Paula Vogel’s “Indecent” — are not long for this world.

So much for Book, Music and Lyrics founder/director David James’ response to The Stage’s research. “I would say the answer, for both men and women, is to raise their game and write stronger work,” James commented. “If women write the better work, they will be produced. I don’t believe they will be sidelined because of gender.”

If only we lived in that world, Mr. James. But we definitely don’t.

Below are highlights from The Stage’s study. Head over to its website for more information.

Of the 118 musicals that ran on London’s West End from 2007 to 2016:

3 were from an all-female writing team, compared to 88 from an-all male writing team12 percent featured books written by a womanFour scores were composed by a woman75 percent featured no women on their writing teamsNearly nine out of 10 musicals had a book written entirely by menIncluding jukebox musicals, 18 percent of the shows’ music or lyrics were women-written

None of the shows in 2014 featured books, music, or lyrics from women

None of the shows in 2010 featured music from a female composer

None of the books in 2011, 2013, or 2016 were written by women

Study: West End Musicals Are Overwhelmingly Written by Men was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »

- Rachel Montpelier

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Top 10 Movie Kisses for International Kissing Day

6 July 2017 8:00 AM, PDT | Cineplex | See recent Cineplex news »

Top 10 Movie Kisses for International Kissing DayTop 10 Movie Kisses for International Kissing DayAmanda Wood7/6/2017 10:00:00 Am

Today is International Kissing Day, and you know what that means: we’ve got a list to celebrate.

We couldn’t let this day pass by without commemorating it through a celebration of our favourite on-screen kisses. There have been many memorable make-out moments on-screen throughout the years, but these ten movies have what we consider to be the best of the best. It was honestly difficult to narrow this list down, and much debate was had over the memorability of certain smooches.

We think we’ve got the definitive best kisses list here, with everything from comedies to classic romances to animated films making the cut. Check out the list below!

Never Been Kissed (1999)

Could we really make a top kisses list without including Never Been Kissed? Absolutely not. This delightful tale »

- Amanda Wood

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Five Things You Didn’t Know About Olivia de Havilland

3 July 2017 11:00 PM, PDT | TVovermind.com | See recent TVovermind.com news »

It is very unfortunate that many young people today do not know who the great Olivia de Havilland is. While just about everyone knows classic films like Gone with the Wind and The Adventures of Robin Hood, many are unaware that one of the stars of such films is still alive today. Although she is retired, the 101-year-old de Havilland is just as vibrant as ever. She made headlines recently when she sued FX for their unfair portrayal of her in Feud. de Havilland has cemented her status as Hollywood royalty several times over, winning two Academy Awards and a

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Olivia de Havilland »

- Timothy Hickey

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The Legacy of George A. Romero’s ‘Day of the Dead’

3 July 2017 12:38 PM, PDT | bloody-disgusting.com | See recent Bloody-Disgusting.com news »

Day of the Dead was the third, considered by many to be the lesser, of George A. Romero’s Dead Trilogy. I’m sure most of us know the story all too well by now, but the Day we got wasn’t necessarily the Day Romero wanted to make. The original concept has been described by Romero as the “Gone with the Wind of […] »

- Zachary Paul

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Olivia de Havilland Files Lawsuit Against Ryan Murphy & FX, Calls ‘Feud: Bette and Joan’ ‘Patently False’

3 July 2017 10:29 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

After creating eight successful television series, earning him 20 Emmy nominations and four Emmy wins — Ryan Murphy has finally arrived.

Olivia de Havilland, star of “Gone With the Wind,” widely considered the greatest classic films of all time, has filed a lawsuit against Murphy, creator of such programs as “Glee,” “American Horror Story,” and “Feud: Bette and Joan.”

Read More: ‘Feud: Bette And Joan’: Ryan Murphy Reveals Why Hiring Women to Write and Direct Mattered So Much

Feud” stars Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis, Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford, and Catherine Zeta-Jones as de Havilland. The only actress still living, the 101-year-old de Havilland is not happy with her portrayal in the FX series. In the lawsuit, which you can read in all of its glory here, de Havilland’s lawyers claim FX Networks and Ryan Murphy Productions used her name and identity without her consent, without providing compensation, and »

- Jude Dry

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Olivia de Havilland Files Lawsuit Against Ryan Murphy & FX, Calls ‘Feud: Bette and Joan’ ‘Patently False’

3 July 2017 10:29 AM, PDT | Indiewire Television | See recent Indiewire Television news »

After creating eight successful television series, earning him 20 Emmy nominations and four Emmy wins — Ryan Murphy has finally arrived.

Olivia de Havilland, star of “Gone With the Wind,” widely considered the greatest classic films of all time, has filed a lawsuit against Murphy, creator of such programs as “Glee,” “American Horror Story,” and “Feud: Bette and Joan.”

Read More: ‘Feud: Bette And Joan’: Ryan Murphy Reveals Why Hiring Women to Write and Direct Mattered So Much

Feud” stars Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis, Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford, and Catherine Zeta-Jones as de Havilland. The only actress still living, the 101-year-old de Havilland is not happy with her portrayal in the FX series. In the lawsuit, which you can read in all of its glory here, de Havilland’s lawyers claim FX Networks and Ryan Murphy Productions used her name and identity without her consent, without providing compensation, and »

- Jude Dry

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Feud: Olivia de Havilland Sues FX Drama Over Unauthorized Portrayal

30 June 2017 2:56 PM, PDT | TVLine.com | See recent TVLine.com news »

Olivia de Havilland is turning 101 this weekend, and she’s got no time for Ryan Murphy’s nonsense.

The Gone With the Wind actress filed a legal complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court Friday stating that Murphy’s FX drama, Feud: Bette and Joan, paints her as a Hollywood gossip, something she claims she’s gone out of her way to avoid during her long career.

RelatedAmerican Horror Story Season 7 Tease: Ryan Murphy Shares Chilling Photo

De Havilland specifically objects to her likeness being included in the anthology series’ Bette Davis/Joan Crawford-centered first season without her consent. »

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Olivia de Havilland Sues Ryan Murphy, FX Over ‘Feud’ Portrayal on Eve of Her 101st Birthday

30 June 2017 1:44 PM, PDT | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

Olivia de Havilland has a real-life feud brewing with FX and Ryan Murphy. “Gone With the Wind” actress de Havilland has filed a lawsuit against the cable outlet and “Feud” producer Ryan Murphy, alleging that her identity was used without her authorization in the FX miniseries, according to court papers obtained by TheWrap. The suit, filed against FX Networks and Ryan Murphy Productions in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, also alleges that the 100-year-old actress, who was portrayed by Catherine Zeta-Jones in the miniseries, was placed in a false light. In a press release issued Friday, de  Havilland’s lawyers said, »

- Tim Kenneally

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Check Out Tara Lipinski’s Lavish 6-Tier Wedding Cake (with Real Roses!)

30 June 2017 12:35 PM, PDT | PEOPLE.com | See recent PEOPLE.com news »

Tara Lipinski and Todd Kapostasy did not skimp on the details when it came to their stunning wedding cake at their nuptials last weekend.

After saying “I do” on the grounds of the historic Middleton Place in Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday, the newlyweds retreated back to a 100-by-80 ft. tent where guests were greeted with popsicles and a first look at the couple’s eye-catching cake.

Standing at six layers tall, the Ashley Bakery creation was covered in real roses and intricate detailing and each level featured a different flavor. Atop the cake stood a special Gone with the Wind »

- Jessica Fecteau

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Daniel Day-Lewis and 11 Other Movie Stars Who Walked Away From Successful Careers

29 June 2017 1:15 PM, PDT | Entertainment Tonight | See recent Entertainment Tonight news »

After winning three Academy Awards and establishing himself as one of the world's greatest living actors, Daniel Day-Lewis issued a statement last week announcing that he was retiring from acting, and that the film he recently completed, director Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread, would be his last film performance.

The decision came as a shock to fans of the 60-year-old actor and father of three, many of whom feel like he has a lot more to offer in the way of brilliant performances. However, he's far from the first star to retire before his or her time. Here's a look at just a few major stars, throughout the history of Hollywood, who have walked away from their careers in search of something different.

Watch: Daniel Day-Lewis Announces Retirement From Acting, Final Film 'Phantom Thread' to Premiere This Christmas

1. Sean Connery

20th Century Fox

After a long career playing everything from James Bond to romantic leads, Connery »

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How Tara Lipinski Surprised Bff ‘Bridesman’ Johnny Weir on Her Wedding Day: ‘She’s the Most Caring Person I Know’

29 June 2017 10:39 AM, PDT | PEOPLE.com | See recent PEOPLE.com news »

Tara Lipinski sure knows how to make a “bridesman” feel special.

On her wedding day, the former Olympic figure skater treated collaborator and best friend Johnny Weir, a two-time Olympic figure skater, to an assortment of special gifts.

“Despite it being Tara and Todd’s day, she found so many ways to surprise me!” Weir, 32, told People shortly after Lipinski tied the knot with sports producer Todd Kapostasy in Charleston on June 24. “Tara really thought of everyone for her wedding and reception. She wanted everyone to have the best night of their lives.”

The bride, who has been besties with Weir for four years, »

- Rose Minutaglio

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‘It Was a Fairytale’: All the Exclusive Details on Tara Lipinski’s Ultra-Chic Southern Wedding

28 June 2017 7:00 AM, PDT | PEOPLE.com | See recent PEOPLE.com news »

Tara Lipinski has partnered up for her next chapter in life and love — and People has all the details.

As the warm summer sun set over the Ashley River on the lush grounds of historic Middleton Place in Charleston, South Carolina, Lipinski, 35, and sports producer Todd Kapostasy, 33, said “I do” last Saturday beneath a canopy of roses and hydrangeas.

Around 245 guests were in attendance, including 1984 Olympic gold medal figure skater Scott Hamilton, sportscaster Dan Patrick and Lipinski’s Bff and “bridesman” Johnny Weir.

“It was a fairytale come to life,” Lipinski, who wore a hand-embroidered strapless sweetheart bustier gown with »

- Rose Minutaglio

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Lord & Miller vs. Kasdan & Kennedy: A Fight for the future of our franchise films

22 June 2017 2:15 PM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Anghus Houvouras on the Han Solo director situation and a fight for the future of franchise films…

I’m still in a state of utter disbelief over the disintegration that has happened between directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord and the creative conglomerate that handles the cinematic Star Wars universe. It’s an absolute gobstopper of a conversation starter with endless potential for columnists to get comfortable in their armchairs as they postulate about the rift on every single level, from studio head on down the ladder.

To me, the actual drama is less interesting than the overreaching theme of this spat. Lord and Miller represent the future of franchise filmmaking. Young, extremely talented individuals who are capable of telling great stories. Lucasfilm, most notably Kathleen Kennedy and Lawrence Kasdan, represent the old guard. Experienced minds who understand both the creative and business side of the film industry.

We’ve watched for years as studios have gobbled up young, emerging talent and slapped them onto franchise films. The trend isn’t exactly new. Warner Bros. grabbed a young Tim Burton to helm 1989’s Batman. It worked out great until Warner Bros. decided Burton’s dark and quirky visions didn’t sell enough toys and they parted ways over creative differences.

What Lord and Miller have experienced isn’t exactly new either. ‘Creative differences’ is something that happens all the time. Directors are attached and jettisoned from feature film projects with the frequency of rest stop hand jobs. The average blockbuster goes through dozens of writers and directors before settling on a creative team to take the project into production.

It’s less common to see a director leave the project in the middle of production, but there is historical precedent. Superman II, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Exorcist: The Beginning and even classics like Gone With the Wind. Movies that famously cited irreconcilable differences between director and production and had to bring in someone else to try to stick the landing.

The less common part is seeing a creative team exit a project in the modern age of franchise friendly talent. Walking away from Star Wars is a bold move. One that I am in awe of. I have sat here slack-jawed for nearly 15 hours after hearing the news. There are so many interesting facets to this story, but for me it ultimately boils down to this:

We’re looking at a battle for the future of franchise filmmaking.

Lord & Miller vs. Kennedy & Kasdan.

To be fair there really isn’t a side that needs taking. This isn’t a knock-down, drag-out fight but a salient example of the current state of franchise filmmaking. Are you interested in a newer creative vision for your favorite franchise or do you want more of the same? This is exactly what this story represents.

Kennedy, Kasdan and company are protecting a brand. Working to ensure that the elements that made the franchise successful are rigidly adhered to. However they’ve created something of a hostile workplace. Hostile is the wrong word. ‘Less than hospitable’ seems more apt. J.J. Abrams famously turned down The Force Awakens only to eventually take on the role when it seemed no one else would. Rian Johnson came on for one film. Josh Trank was fired. Gareth Edwards was basically replaced and left out of all the final decisions on Rogue One. Now Lord & Miller have been fired. I wouldn’t exactly call that a sterling employment record. If I was Colin Trevorrow, I’d be more than a little bit nervous.

Why aren’t talented young filmmakers sticking around? Why does Disney bother bringing in singular voices if they have no interest in their vision? Are they clutching their franchise so tightly that they’re choking it to death? It would be nice if Disney could loosen their grip. Bring in unique filmmakers and let them create something that stays true to the Star Wars universe but allows a Galaxy Far, Far Away to broaden and become creatively diverse.

Right now Disney has become the evil Empire desperately trying to control their franchise universe. Lord and Miller may very well become the face of the resistance.

Anghus Houvouras »

- Anghus Houvouras

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‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Firing Is Latest in Long Line of Director Exits

21 June 2017 2:40 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were dumped from the Han Solo spinoff film this week after more than four months of production, an unusually late date to make a shift behind the camera. That leaves the “Star Wars” production scrambling to find a replacement with weeks left of shooting and a scheduled five weeks of reshoots coming later this summer, an unenviable position for one of the biggest franchises in the entertainment industry and all involved.

The film, which is still untitled, isn’t the first to change its director in midstream. Classics such as “Gone With the Wind” and “Wizard of Oz” cycled through filmmakers, while duds like “The 13th Warrior” and “The Island of Dr. Moreau” also brought in fresh blood in the middle of shooting. But despite plenty of precedents, Lord and Miller’s firing is setting tongues wagging.

“It has certainly happened on a number of occasions, but not under such scrutiny and not usually this far into production,” said Leonard Maltin, a film critic and historian.

Frequently, a director is dropped after he finds himself on the losing end of a power struggle. During “Gone With the Wind,” Clark Gable pushed to have George Cukor replaced with Victor Fleming because Gable felt that the filmmaker was paying too much attention to his co-star, Vivien Leigh. While shooting “Spartacus,” Kirk Douglas used his clout to have Anthony Mann replaced with Stanley Kubrick because he believe that his hand-picked substitute could better handle the film’s epic scope. And in “Waterworld” it was Kevin Costner, and not credited director Kevin Reynolds, who handled the film’s final cut after the two clashed on the notoriously troubled and costly production.

Related

Why Movies Need Directors Like Phil Lord and Chris Miller More Than Ever

More recently, Steven Soderbergh left “Moneyball” due to his desire to shoot documentary-style, while Pixar parted ways with the the directors of several of its films, from “Ratatouille” to the “Brave” to “The Good Dinosaur,” over differing creative ideas about the animated offerings. In most cases, these movies survived their filmmaking shuffles to succeed financially and artistically, proving that a rocky path to the big screen does not necessarily foretell doom.

That’s to say nothing of the pictures whose financial backers probably wished in retrospect that they’d pulled the plug on a director. Costly overruns on “Heaven’s Gate,” Michael Cimino’s brooding Western epic, essentially bankrupted United Artists, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s “Cleopatra” went so egregiously over budget that it brought Fox to the brink of financial ruin. Perhaps another filmmaker would have been able to rein in some of the spending?

But there are reasons why studios have historically been loathe to make a change after cameras start rolling.

“Once a film begins production it’s a runaway train and the backers of the film are reluctant to remove the conductor from the train for fear of it being even more of a disaster,” said Howard Suber, a professor of film history at UCLA. “It becomes a decision between cutting your losses and possibly starting all over again or hoping that things somehow are able to get better.”

It’s harder to overhaul a project without drawing a lot of scrutiny. In the days of “The Wizard of Oz” or “Gone With the Wind,” the public wasn’t as versed in film production — studios might expect a report of a production shakeup in a trade paper such as Variety, but it rarely filtered out across the mass media. That’s no longer the case. From Entertainment Tonight to the New York Times to Twitter, news of Lord and Miller’s ouster was ubiquitous this week.

“The public is now reading about controversies on films and who gets hired here and who gets fired there,” said Dana Polan, professor of cinema studies at Nyu. “That was not a thing before.”

In the case of the Han Solo spinoff shakeup, insiders say that Lord and Miller clashed with Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy and writer and executive producer Lawrence Kasdan over their vision for the film and its execution. Lord and Miller wanted to inject more cheekiness into the “Star Wars” universe and encouraged improvisation on set. Kasdan and Kennedy believed in adhering more tightly to the script and were concerned that the directors were deviating too far from the franchise’s “house style.” They preferred something that was more reverent, which they might get if Ron Howard or Joe Johnston, both rumored to be in the running for the gig, take over as director.

The Lord and Miller firing is also a reminder of a new cinematic reality. Auteur theory, a popular school of thought in film criticism, once held that the director is the true author of a film because he or she makes the key audio and visual decisions. That view was given so much credence that 1980’s “The Stunt Man” offered up Peter O’Toole as a God-like film director, an artistic zealot willing to trample over anyone and everyone in order to get the perfect shot.

Miller and Lord’s ouster, however, demonstrates the limitations of a director’s power in a rapidly changing movie landscape. It’s a caste structure in which brands, be they costumed heroes or robots,  are the true stars in Hollywood. As Lord and Miller discovered, no filmmaker is more important than the Jedi mythology that lies at the heart of the “Star Wars” universe. With billions of dollars in box office and merchandising at stake, studios aren’t as receptive to a director who wants to take an iconoclastic approach to the material.

Related

12 Directors Who Were Pushed from the Director’s Chair

As studios have grown more corporate and more dependent on a few major franchises, productions have become more bureaucratic. It’s Kennedy and her team at Lucasfilm who are making most of the major decisions about where to take the “Star Wars” universe, just as executive teams at DC (Geoff Johns and Jon Berg) and Marvel (Kevin Feige) are exerting enormous control over the gestations of the various sequels and spinoffs that they churn out annually. In the old days, the first move would be to hire a director. Now, a filmmaker is often brought onto a project after a script has been written and even storyboarded.

Whether it’s Lord and Miller on the Han Solo film or Rian Johnson on “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the directors aren’t generals marshaling their film crews and casts into battle. They’re hired guns.

There’s a lot less job stability when you’re a mercenary.

Related storiesRon Howard to Take Over as Director of 'Star Wars' Han Solo SpinoffWhy Movies Need Directors Like Phil Lord and Chris Miller More Than Ever'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Fired After Clashing With Kathleen Kennedy (Exclusive) »

- Brent Lang

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Lord and Miller: 12 other directors who left/got fired from movies during production

21 June 2017 5:52 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Luke Owen looks at directors who left/got fired from movies during production…

With the shocking news that Phil Lord and Chris Miller have vacated the director’s chairs for the yet-to-be-titled Han Solo movie over “creative differences” (some sources say they were forced out), I thought it was time to look at some other directors who faced similar issues.

It’s no secret that making a tentpole movie for a studio is tricky. Duncan Jones has been very vocal as of late about the issues he had with last year’s Warcraft, and it was rumoured a few years ago that Gareth Edwards faced an uphill battle with Warner Bros. and Legendary on 2014’s Godzilla reboot. The 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie had its script re-written the weekend before production started with no input from the directors, who were then locked out of the editing room during post-production (they were eventually let back in).

Most of the time directors leave before production actually starts, and someone new is brought in. Edgar Wright left Ant-Man, Patty Jenkins left Thor: The Dark World, Rick Famuyiwa and Seth Grahame-Smith both left The Flash, Ben Affleck stepped down from The Batman, Stephen Herrick left Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; the list goes on. But very rarely does a director leave (or get fired) while the movie is in production. Usually if a studio loses faith in the director at that point, they would bring in someone else to “oversee” the movie and get it over the finish line. The aforementioned Godzilla saw this very occurrence, as did Mission: Impossible II when the legendary Stuart Baird was brought in to “fix” the movie Jon Woo originally helmed. Baird in fact has a long history with this, being a fixer on titles such as Superman: The Motion Picture, The Omen and Lethal Weapon.

There are still four or so weeks left on the Han Solo movie (plus the already planned reshoots), so let’s look back at a few other directors who left/got fired from their films.

The Wizard of Oz, 1939

It seems crazy to think that one of the most beloved movies of all-time had such a tumultuous production, but The Wizard of Oz in fact saw six different directors helm the movie. Norman Taurog originally shot test footage, but was quickly replaced with Richard Thorpe who shot for around two weeks when Taurog was moved to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Producer Mervyn LeRoy felt that Thorpe was rushing the production, and his short time on the film was probably not helped when original Tin Man Buddy Epsen was hospitalised after the metal make-up coated his lungs and left him on an Iron Lung.

None of Thorpe’s footage made it into the final cut (although he did shoot Dorothy’s first meeting Scarecrow and several scenes at The Wicked Witch’s castle), and George Cucker came in after Thorpe was fired. However, Cucker didn’t actually shoot any footage, and was there to simply oversee the plans to re-shoot all of Thorpe’s work until Victor Fleming came in. Although he was eventually the only credited director, Fleming left before production ended to film Gone with the Wind, and the shooting was finished by King Vidor and LeRoy.

Gone with the Wind, 1939

Speaking of Gone with the Wind, George Cucker had been developing the movie with producer David O. Selznick for around two years, but was removed from the project three weeks into production. According to reports, the decision to remove Cucker was Clark Gable’s and it angered fellow co-stars Vivien Leigh and Olivia de Havilland who went to Selznick’s office to demand he be re-hired. In Cucker’s place was Victor Fleming, who shot the majority of the movie over ninety-three days (although Cucker was secretly coaching Leigh and Havilland behind the scenes). Fleming wasn’t the final name on the movie however, as he had to take a short break due to exhaustion and Sam Wood shot for around twenty-three days.

Spartacus, 1960

Although considered a Stanley Kubrick movie, he wasn’t the first name attached to Spartacus. After David Lean turned down the movie, it was offered to Anthony Mann who was then fired by star Kirk Douglas after just one week of production. According to Douglas in his autobiography, Mann was “scared” of the size and scope of Spartacus and wasn’t capable of finishing the film.

Superman II, 1980

Shooting for Superman II was done alongside Superman: The Motion Picture in 1977 with Richard Donner doing both films. However the film was under a lot of pressure, with overrunning schedules and budget, which producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler attributed to Donner. After everything was shot for Superman: The Motion Picture, Superman II was placed on hiatus. Once Superman: The Motion Picture was an instant hit, the producers brought in Richard Lester to replace Donner on Superman II and shoot around the footage already filmed. Why Lester replaced Donner is still up for debate. Spengler has claimed that Donner was asked to come back but refused, while Donner claims he only found out Superman II was getting underway when he received a fax from the Salkinds telling him his services weren’t required.

The cast and crew did not take the replacement lightly, with creative consultants Tom Mankiewicz and editor Stuart Baird refusing to return for the sequel, along with Gene Hackman who was replaced with a body double. Although Marlon Brando had already shot everything for both movies, he successfully sued the Salkinds who then cut him out of the sequel. Years later, Warner Bros. released the Richard Donner cut of Superman II on home video as Superman II: The Donner Cut.

Piranha II: The Spawning, 1981

Piranha II was originally set to be directed by Roger Corman graduate Miller Drake, who envisioned a version of the movie which saw the return of Kevin McCarthy (who died in the original film). Drake was then replaced with James Cameron who was working on the film’s special effects department, and he then re-wrote the script under the pseudonym H.A. Milton. However around two weeks into production, Cameron was fired by producer Ovidio G. Assonitis who felt he wasn’t doing a good enough job. Assonitis wouldn’t let Cameron review any of the footage he’d shot during his time on the movie, and was even making all of the day-to-day decisions.

A regularly reported story was that Cameron broke into the editing room while the producers were in Cannes to cut his version of the movie, which was then re-cut by Assonitis. “Then the producer wouldn’t take my name off the picture because [contractually] they couldn’t deliver it with an Italian name,” Cameron said in a 1991 La Times interview. “So they left me on, no matter what I did. I had no legal power to influence him from Pomona, California, where I was sleeping on a friend’s couch. I didn’t even know an attorney. In actual fact, I did some directing on the film, but I don’t feel it was my first movie.”

WarGames, 1983

WarGames began life as a very different movie titled The Genius in 1979 about a much older gentlemen, but this changed when writers Walter F. Parkes and Lawrence Lasker discovered a large youth-movement in the computer world, who would later be known as hackers. The character of David Lightman (played by Matthew Broderick) was even modeled after hacking enthusiast David Scott Lewis.

When the film went into production it was being helmed by Martin Brest who was then removed from the movie 12-days into shooting after a disagreement with the producers. In his place was John Badham, whose first act was to lighten the tone of the movie. “[Brest had] taken a somewhat dark approach to the story, and saw Matthew’s character as someone who was rebelling against his parents, and who was just kind of stewing inside,” he told The Hollywood Interview in 2009. “There was that tone to it. I said ‘If I was 16 and could get on a computer and change my grades or my girlfriend’s grades, I would be peeing in my pants with excitement!’ And the way it was shot, it was like they were doing some Nazi undercover thing. So it was my job to make it seem like they were having fun, and that it was exciting, but it wasn’t this dark rebellion.” »

- Luke Owen

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