Inside New Jersey’s filmmaking renaissance

After the New Jersey Legislature approved tax credits for film and television production and Governor Phil Murphy signed it into law in July 2018, industry revenue could double and local businesses could expect hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the Asbury Park Press. Todd Phillips’s Batman flick, Joker (2019), Alan Taylor’s prequel to HBO’s The Sopranos (1999-2007), The Many Saints of Newark (2020), and Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic musical, West Side Story (2020), are all shooting in the state. Former Governor Chris Christie, in an effort to curb the budget, suspended the film and TV program in 2010 and allowed it to expire in 2015, blocking the 2009 incentive for MTV’s Jersey Shore (2009-2012).

Disney recruits top Netflix executive for new streaming service

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Disney+, which is scheduled to launch November 12, will be a commercial-free monthly subscription at seventy dollars a year, offering up new and old series and films from beloved franchises. (Image Courtesy: CNBC).

Walt Disney announced Tuesday they had hired Matt Brodlie, the director of the original film division at Netflix, to lead international content development for their forthcoming family-friendly steaming service, Disney+, according to CNBC. Under Brodlie’s leadership, Netflix released Susan Johnson’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) as well as Alex Richanbach’s Ibiza (2018), and it also picked up Academy Award darlings like Dee Rees’s Mudbound (2017) and Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma (2018). As part of his new position with Disney, Brodlie will arbitrate which properties need to be produced or acquired for Disney+ customers outside the United States.

How Tim Burton’s “Batman” (1989) saved Prince’s career

With the thirtieth anniversary of the release for Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) coming and going this month, Prince’s Batman LP still shapes creative partnerships between filmmakers and musicians today, according to Variety. After Albert Magnoli’s Purple Rain (1984), Prince overspent on production costs while touring for the soundtrack, until Batman producer Mark Canton reached out to the singer’s management team as part of the film’s saturation marketing strategy. Drawing from a rough cut of the film for inspiration, despite not knowing how to score a cinematic composition to the frame, Prince produced much-needed hits such as “Batdance,” “Partyman,” and “Scandalous.”

New tax credit for filmmakers to go into effect in Montana

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Friday evening, volunteer Justine Conlan opens the doors to the Covellite Theater in Butte for a Covellite International Film Festival screening. (Image Courtesy: The Montana Standard).

The Montana Economic Industry Advancement Act goes into effect July 1, offering a production expenditure tax credit of up to thirty-five percent of filmmakers’ total base film production investment for films shot in the state, according to the Montana Standard. Filmmakers must incentivize the hiring of local crews, employ students, or film in impoverished counties, with a budget of at least $350,000, a Montana promotion featured in the final product, and a total claim for tax credits of less than ten million dollars a year. Fly-fishing tourists still visit Montana because of Robert Redford’s A River Runs Through It (1992), and filmmaking encourages economic stimulation for many communities through money spent on housing, food, and supplies.

Will Gluck’s “Easy A” (2010) will get a spin-off

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Will Gluck’s Easy A (2010) was Emma Stone’s first major leading role. (Image Courtesy: /Film).

A spinoff of Will Gluck’s Easy A (2010) is in the works, with screenwriter Bert Royal returning to draft the script as well as direct the film, which will also take place at Ojai North High School and will be about similar themes with a new cast of characters, according to /Film. With Easy A serving as a loose adaptation of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Royal was quoted in an interview as saying he planned to set similar interpretations of Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand and The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens in Ojai, California. The follow-up still has yet to be written, so no details are known yet as to whether Emma Stone, Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow, or Malcolm McDowell will reprise their parts, or when it will be released.

“Final Destination” star accuses Christian film actor of sexual misconduct

Filmmaker, actress, and progressive Haley Webb accused co-star Kevin Sorbo of sexually harassing her whilst filming Alejandro Itkin and Hunter Carson’s Single in South Beach (2015) on Thursday over Twitter, according to The Daily Dot. The thirty-three-year-old Webb alleges that the sixty-year-old Sorbo openly shamed her on set when she turned down his advances, then insisted on shooting a gratuitous sex scene between their two characters. Webb’s claim was a response to a tweet Sorbo posted Tuesday in defense of Sarah Huckabee Sanders; Sorbo, who has yet to reply to Webb, is a Christian film staple, starring in Harold Cronk’s God’s Not Dead (2014).

Thom Yorke to post a short film on Netflix the same day as new album

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(Image Courtesy: Engadget).

Director Paul Thomas Anderson will release a short musical film on Netflix and in select Imax theaters June 27, the same day long-time collaborator Thom Yorke is to drop his next album, ANIMA, according to Engadget. The one-reeler will feature three ANIMA songs, with Yorke both starring in as well as scoring the movie, and Netflix put out the trailer today, saying the “mind-bending visual piece” is best played loudly. Indeed, Yorke once uploaded an album online exclusively as a BitTorrent Bundle, and together with Radiohead, published a record through a hidden app that only worked on computers from the 1980s.