Matt Donnelly
Matt Donnelly
he/him. Senior Film Writer @Variety. Opinions / body issues are my own.Source
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Netflix Buys 'Knives Out' Sequels for $450 Million

Netflix Buys 'Knives Out' Sequels for $450 Million

LionsgateNetflix is plunking down an astounding $450 million for the rights to “ 2” and “Knives Out 3,” the next two follow-ups to the 2019 murder mystery, sources tell Variety. The films will reunite director Rian Johnson and star , who teamed up so memorably on the first detective story.The first “Knives Out” was produced by Media Rights Capital. It was distributed by Lionsgate, going on to earn $311.4 million on a $40 million budget. Johnson was nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay. MRC had a single-picture deal to produce “Knives Out,” negotiated by CAA on behalf of...

March 31, 2021
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Disney Bought Time for ‘Death on the Nile,’ but Armie Hammer Iceberg Is Ahead

Disney Bought Time for ‘Death on the Nile,’ but Armie Hammer Iceberg Is Ahead

Last week, announced a flurry of release date changes for its upcoming film slate, kicking a number of premium titles down the road as COVID-19-stricken movie theaters slowly reopen.Buried among seismic moves like Marvel’s “Black Widow” heading to theaters and Disney Plus on the same day was yet another push for the long-suffering murder mystery ensemble “,” a Hercule Poirot adventure from director and star .The film, a sequel to “Murder on the Orient Express” and an orphan from Disney’s mega-acquisition of 20th Century Fox, was delayed yet again to Valentine’s Day 2022. The prominent thorn...

March 30, 2021
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Jay Leno Apologizes for Decades of Jokes About Asians: 'In My Heart I Knew It Was Wrong'

Jay Leno Apologizes for Decades of Jokes About Asians: 'In My Heart I Knew It Was Wrong'

Late-night host and comedian has issued an apology for a series of jokes told over his career targeting Asian communities.The apology comes after a nearly 15-year campaign from the activist group Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) for remarks as recent as Variety‘s that Leno cracked about Koreans eating dog meat — a complaint that offended numerous players on the set of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”“At the time I did those jokes, I genuinely thought them to be harmless,” Leno said in a joint press release with MANAA leader Guy Aoki. “I was making fun of our enemy North Korea,...

March 24, 2021
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Inside COVID-Safe Movie Theaters: Sanitization Foggers, Plexiglass and New Popcorn Rules

Inside COVID-Safe Movie Theaters: Sanitization Foggers, Plexiglass and New Popcorn Rules

VarietyImagine a magical weapon straight out of science fiction: a machine of gratifying, cartoonish proportions that unleashes a magic potion eradicating the scourge of the past and bringing families safely together.Except it’s not a Marvel prop, it’s an electrostatic disinfectant sprayer — a goofy but crucial piece of protective equipment that will become a staple for moviegoers in a post-pandemic world.That spray gun, which will hose down seats, guardrails and door handles in between every movie showing across the globe, is part of one of several new protocols Variety observed on a...

March 19, 2021
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Hollywood Elite in COVID-19 Vaccine Scramble: ‘It’s the Hunger Games Out There’

Hollywood Elite in COVID-19 Vaccine Scramble: ‘It’s the Hunger Games Out There’

As vaccines trickle out across the country and new infections and deaths rise at alarming rates in cities like Los Angeles, some power players in entertainment and media are leveraging their clout and connections to be amongst the first to get inoculated.Numerous high-flying executives and dealmakers have been cycling through private physicians and concierge services to receive one of the two established COVID-19 vaccines on the market. Others have been tapping their vast resources in a mad dash to get vaccinated as the government, especially in Hollywood’s native California, churns through...

January 25, 2021
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Armie Hammer’s ‘Shotgun Wedding’ Role to Be Recast Amid Social Media Scandal

Armie Hammer’s ‘Shotgun Wedding’ Role to Be Recast Amid Social Media Scandal

has stepped away from his role opposite Jennifer Lopez in the upcoming “,” decrying “vicious and spurious online attacks” against him as the cause.Hammer was set to begin production on the romantic adventure immediately, but will now be recast. The news comes after the “Call Me by Your Name” star began trending on social media last weekend after direct Instagram messages that appeared to be written by Hammer — which have not been verified — were posted.“I’m not responding to these bullshit claims but in light of the vicious and spurious online attacks against me, I cannot in good conscience...

January 13, 2021
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Russo Brothers Received Close to $50 Million From Saudi Bank (EXCLUSIVE)

Russo Brothers Received Close to $50 Million From Saudi Bank (EXCLUSIVE)

The Russo brothers, directors of the all-time top grossing film “Avengers: Endgame,” quietly secured a roughly $50 million cash infusion for their production company from earlier this year, multiple sources tell Variety.In a deal brokered and closed at the beginning of the pandemic, the Russos received the investment from an undisclosed Saudi bank in exchange for a minority stake in the brothers’ Los Angeles-based shop. The money is earmarked to help fund development, production and overhead, two people familiar with the transaction said.The Russos count multiple other investors...

December 21, 2020
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Warner Bros. to Debut Entire 2021 Film Slate, Including 'Dune' and 'Matrix 4,’ Both on HBO Max and In Theaters

Warner Bros. to Debut Entire 2021 Film Slate, Including 'Dune' and 'Matrix 4,’ Both on HBO Max and In Theaters

When Warner Bros. announced that “Wonder Woman 1984” would on Christmas, the same time it debuts in theaters, many expected it to be an isolated experiment in response to an unprecedented pandemic.Instead, the studio will deploy a similar release strategy for the next 12 months. In a surprising break from industry standards, Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 slate — a list of 17 films that includes “,” Denis Villeneuve’s “” remake, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical adaptation of “In the Heights,” the “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark” and “The Suicide Squad” — will debut both on HBO Max and...

December 3, 2020
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Oscar-Nominated ‘Umbrella Academy’ Star Elliot Page Announces He Is Transgender

Oscar-Nominated ‘Umbrella Academy’ Star Elliot Page Announces He Is Transgender

, the Oscar-nominated star of “Juno” and Netflix’s “,” has announced he is transgender.Elliot, formerly known as Ellen Page, addressed his social media followers :“Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot. I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life. I feel overwhelming gratitude for the incredible people who have supported me along this journey. I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self. I’ve been endlessly inspired by so...

December 1, 2020
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Netflix Suspends Three Employees, Including Trans Person Who Spoke Out Against Dave Chappelle, for Crashing Leadership Meeting

Netflix Suspends Three Employees, Including Trans Person Who Spoke Out Against Dave Chappelle, for Crashing Leadership Meeting

Netflix has suspended three employees for crashing a meeting of its top executives, including an out trans person who criticized a new comedy special from Dave Chappelle, sources tell Variety. Terra Field, a senior software engineer based in San Francisco, was among those suspended late last week for attending the “QBR” — Netflix’s quarterly business review, a two-day affair that convenes the top 500 employees at the company. Field, who identifies as queer and trans, and the other employees were not invited to the virtual gathering, according to insiders. Netflix did not suspend Field...

Oct 13
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