hollywood 411
July 30, 2020

In a memo sent to staffers on Thursday, Ellen DeGeneres said she was "disappointed" to learn that several former Ellen DeGeneres Show workers complained about their time on set, as she wanted it to be "a place of happiness — no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect."

Earlier this month, about a dozen ex-employees spoke with BuzzFeed News and detailed their time working on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, with one alleging that she experienced racial abuse and several others saying they were fired for taking medical leave or using bereavement time. They primarily blamed the show's executive producers and senior managers, not DeGeneres, for the "toxic" culture.

In the memo, obtained by People, DeGeneres said she was "sorry" to hear all of this, and is "glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention." She has since learned that "people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop. As someone who was judged and nearly lost everything for just being who I am, I truly understand and have deep compassion for those being looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or — worse — disregarded."

An internal investigation was launched earlier this week, and Warner Bros. said in a statement on Thursday it has already found "some deficiencies related to the show's day-to-day management" and "identified several staffing changes, along with appropriate measures to address the issues that have been addressed, and are taking the first steps to implement them." Catherine Garcia

July 8, 2020

A Wonder Years revival is coming to ABC, 27 years after the show ended its six-season run.

The Wonder Years told the story of suburban teenager Kevin Arnold and his middle-class family in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The reboot will feature a Black family in Montgomery, Alabama, in the 1960s, The Hollywood Reporter says. The goal is for the show to start airing during the 2021-22 television season.

Lee Daniels will serve as an executive producer, with Big Bang Theory and Frasier's Saladin K. Patterson writing the script. The Wonder Years co-creator Neal Marlens has signed on as a consultant, while the show's original star, Fred Savage, will executive produce and direct. Catherine Garcia

June 24, 2020

Two weeks after being pulled due to its "racist depictions," Gone with the Wind is back on HBO Max, with added historical context and denouncement of how the film represents Black people.

Gone with the Wind was temporarily removed from the streaming service two weeks ago, in the wake of the anti-racism protests sparked by the death of George Floyd. There are now two videos accompanying the 1939 movie: one is the Turner Classic Movies introduction with scholar Jacqueline Stewart and the other is a 57-minute panel discussion on Gone with the Wind's "complicated legacy."

HBO Max said in a statement the film is "a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society. These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible."

In her introduction, Stewart gives a historical context to Gone with the Wind, and discusses the problems with how Black characters are depicted. "The film presents the Antebellum South as a world of grace and beauty, without acknowledging the brutalities of the system of chattel slavery, upon which this world is based," she says. Watching a movie that romanticizes slavery and the Civil War-era South "can be uncomfortable, even painful," she adds. "Still, it is important that classic Hollywood films are available to us in their original form for viewing and discussion." Catherine Garcia

January 12, 2020

The World War I drama 1917 dethroned Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at the box office, earning $36.5 million during its first weekend of wide release.

Directed by Sam Mendes, 1917 opened in limited release on Christmas; it received a major publicity boost last weekend, when the movie won the Best Motion Picture — Drama award at the Golden Globes. Mendes also picked up the Best Director statue. The film tells the story of two young British soldiers who are racing to save hundreds of their fellow troops.

This was the first weekend since its debut in December that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was not in the top spot at the box office; it earned $15 million, bringing its worldwide total to $990 million. Catherine Garcia

January 5, 2020

Frozen has been dethroned by its sequel.

Over the weekend, Frozen 2 became the highest-grossing animated film of all time, having brought in an estimated $1.325 billion. The movie was released in November, and has made $449.9 million in North America and $875.3 million overseas. Frozen earned $1.281 billion worldwide and Incredibles 2 raked in $1.243 billion.

Last month, Frozen 2 became Disney's sixth film released in 2019 to earn more than $1 billion worldwide. Catherine Garcia

September 22, 2019

Downton Abbey had a strong opening weekend, pulling in $31 million during its domestic debut weekend.

This was the biggest opening ever for its distributor, Focus Features. The film, a continuation of the beloved PBS/ITV series that ended in 2016, brought together much of the original cast, including Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Allen Leech, Hugh Bonneville, and Laura Carmichael. It opened in the U.K. last week. In this iteration, the king and queen come to Downton Abbey, and the upstairs and downstairs have very different ways of dealing with the visit.

Coming in second place was Ad Astra, starring Brad Pitt, which brought in $19.2 million, with Sylvester Stallone's Rambo: Last Blood a close third with $19 million. Catherine Garcia

August 5, 2019

The Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham action flick Hobbs & Shaw was No. 1 at the box office this weekend, bringing in an estimated $60.8 million in North America.

The Fast & Furious spin-off also had a strong opening abroad, with about $120 million in ticket sales. In its third weekend in theaters, the live action Lion King fell to the No. 2 spot, with an estimated $38.2 million; the movie has made almost $1.2 billion globally. Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood came in third place, earning an estimated $20 million, followed by Spider-Man: Far From Home with an estimated $7.8 million and Toy Story 4 with an estimated $7.2 million. Catherine Garcia

July 29, 2019

Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood had a $40.4 million domestic debut, the director's best opening weekend yet.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie, Tarantino's 10th film was expected to bring in $30 million to $40 million over the weekend. Prior to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, his biggest opening was 2009's Inglorious Basterds, which earned $38.1 million. Entertainment Weekly notes that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the first film Tarantino has made without the involvement of disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.

The movie took the No. 2 spot at the box office, behind Disney's live-action Lion King, which earned $75.5 million. Catherine Garcia

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