- Over 500 Los Angeles residents had their Tuesday COVID-19 tests at Union Station abruptly canceled to accommodate for the filming of Miramax’s “She’s All That” reboot, “He’s All That.”
- Many slammed the city for seemingly prioritizing the film over public health in the midst of its new stay at home order. The move would have also caused a back up in scheduled and rescheduled tests over the weekend, especially after the Thanksgiving holiday, when many are requesting tests.
- Miramax, the mayor’s office, and the group that approved the film permit said they were unaware it would impact testing. The decision to close was instead made by the nationwide testing organization Curative, which felt it would be difficult to allow both safely.
- Just after midnight, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that testing would remain open, though it’s unclear if any people who had appointments missed that late-night update.
Mayor Keeps Testing Site Open
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said COVID-19 testing at Union Station would remain open Tuesday, despite a previous and abrupt closure notice that was made to accommodate filming for Miramax’s “She’s All That” reboot.
“The 504 Angelenos who were scheduled for a test there can visit the kiosk as originally planned or any of the other 14 City sites, where we offer 38K tests daily,” Garcetti tweeted just after midnight on Monday,
The announcement came after hours of confusion and backlash from local residents who were scheduled for tests Tuesday. They each received an email Monday afternoon notifying them that their tests had been canceled because Union Station would be closed.
Instead, they were told the city would honor their testing appointments at all of its other testing sites without needing to make a new appointment.
They could also visit Union Station for a test at any time on a different day.
However, as for why the station would be closed, Deadline reported that the decision was made to accommodate a film shoot for “He’s All That,” a film starring faces like Addison Rae and Tanner Buchanan.
That meant a cast and crew of around 170 people would instead occupy the location.
The decision prompted much frustration because while some people could easily go to another testing site, not everyone could. Union Station is actually one of few transit-accessible testing centers. This kind of change would also lead to a back up in scheduled and rescheduled tests over the weekend.
The news also comes at a time when public health should be a top priority as coronavirus cases surge. In fact, the city had just been put under a modified stay at home order that started Monday because of the spike in cases and hospitalizations. According to some experts, rising cases could overwhelm the local healthcare system in less than two weeks.
As the day continued, outlets began reporting that no one from the mayor’s office, Miramax, or FilmLA (the body that approves filming permits) made the decision to cancel testing.
In fact, Miramax and FilmLA said they didn’t even know the station was a testing center, according to Deadline. Instead, the outlet reported that the decision was made by a nationwide testing organization known as Curative.
That group apparently felt it would be too disruptive and difficult to enforce social distancing with both testing and filming happening at the same time, but after seeing backlash over the decision, reps for the film reportedly offered to work with the station to figure out a way to accommodate both.
One source told the Los Angeles Times that the scheduled filming will not take place near the testing kiosks.
Later in the evening, Mayor Garcetti made a statement saying he was hoping to reopen Union Station, prompting more late-night confusion.
By 10 p.m. Monday evening, it was still unclear if the site would be open or closed the following today.
Garcetti finally cleared up question with his announcement that testing would continue without issue. According to several reports, filming will continue as well. However, its unclear right now how many people missed the overnight update and potentially missed their appointments because of all the back and forth.
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Los Angeles Times)
“Don’t Worry Darling” Tops the Box Office Amid Bad Press
Audiences are already giving the film higher praise than critics did.
Young Women Flock to “Don’t Worry Darling”
Weeks of controversies and rumors did not prevent “Don’t Worry Darling” from finding victory at the box office, with the Olivia Wilde-directed thriller debuting at number one over the weekend and raking in $19.2 million.
Wilde also acted in the mid-century mystery, which starrs Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, and Gemma Chan.
Women led ticket sales for the picture, comprising 66% of the audience, according to several reports. At least partially due to the appeal of Styles, crowds also skewed young, with over half under the age of 25.
Overseas, the film made over $10 million, bringing its total for the weekend to $30 million. That number is especially impressive since the R-rated drama had a budget of $35 million.
“Don’t Worry Darling” had been plagued with weeks of rumors about behind-the-scenes drama leading up to its release. Among other bouts of gossip, many online speculated that Pugh and Wilde had riffs on set, leading to Pugh’s refusal to promote the project. One report alleged the two got into a screaming match, but sources on set denied it.
Wilde and Shia LeBeouf, who was originally cast in the picture, also got into a public he-said-she-said about whether he quit the film or was fired.
The drama hit a boiling point during its premiere at the Venice Film Festival when Twitter users circulated a video they claimed showed Styles spiting on Pine, though both parties have denied that allegation.
A Film Riddled With Rumors
Furthering the bad press were the bad reviews. Critics largely panned the film, sticking it with a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes. After this first weekend, moviegoers seem to have a more favorable outlook, as it has a 79% audience score as of Monday.
Jeff Goldstein, the distribution chief for Warner Bros., told the Associated Press that “the background noise” caused by these controversies “had a neutral impact” on its box office haul. The studio released a statement saying it was pleased with the movie’s earnings.
Some analysts believe that, if anything, the online gossip and fodder may have aided the film’s box office performance.
In a tweet recapping the weekend’s box office, Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, said the “drama sparked a huge wave of interest.”
See what others are saying: (Associated Press) (Box Office Mojo) (New York Times)
Senators Introduce Legislation Requiring Radios to Pay Royalties to Artists
Sen. Padilla argued the bill is necessary to give artists the “dignity and respect they deserve.”
The American Music Fairness Act
Sens. Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the American Music Fairness Act to the Senate on Thursday, a bill that would require radio stations to pay royalties to performers and rights holders.
The bill was previously introduced to the House last year. According to a release, the United States is the only democratic country where artists are not compensated for their music’s use on AM or FM radio. While songwriters and publishers receive payment, these stations have never been required to give a slice of the pie to performers and copyright holders.
On streaming and satellite radio, however, both groups receive royalty payments.
In a statement, Padilla said it is time the country starts treating “our musical artists with the dignity and respect they deserve for the music they produce and we enjoy every day.”
“California’s artists have played a pivotal role in enriching and diversifying our country’s music scene,” he added. “That is why passing the American Music Fairness Act is so important.”
“From Beale Street to Music Row to the hills of East Tennessee, the Volunteer State’s songwriters have undeniably made their mark,” Blackburn echoed. “Tennessee’s creators deserve to be compensated for their work. This legislation will ensure that they receive fair payment and can keep the great hits coming.”
The American Music Fairness Act would require terrestrial radio broadcasters to pay royalties to music creators when their songs are played. It would also protect smaller stations that either make less than $1.5 million in annual revenue or who have a parent company that makes less than $10 million in annual revenue by letting them play unlimited music for under $500 a year.
The bill would also require other countries to pay American artists for the use of their work.
Support From Major Music Groups
The legislation is endorsed by a number of groups, including the Recording Academy, SAG-AFTRA, and the American Federation of Musicians.
If passed, the bill could move a lot of money into the pockets of performers. According to the Recording Academy, when American music gets international airplay, other countries collect royalties for American artists, amounting to around $200 million every year. However, they “never pay those royalties because the U.S. does not reciprocate with our own performance right.”
Fran Drescher, President of SAG-AFTRA, argues that the money belongs to the artists.
“Broadcast companies profit from advertising sales because of the creative content musicians and singers record. It stands to reason that the performers who create the content deserve to be compensated just as songwriters are now,” Drescher said in a statement. “The reason it’s called the American Music Fairness Act is because the current situation is wholly unfair and it’s up to Congress to make it fair NOW!”
Last year, Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced the Local Radio Freedom Act, a bill with essentially the opposite agenda. It aims to reserve radio’s royalty-free status. The American Music Fairness Act is being viewed as a counter-response to this bill.
Kanye West Says Catalog Is Potentially Being Sold Without His Permission: “Just Like Taylor Swift”
After Swift lost the rights to her life’s work, she took on the endeavor of re-recording her first six albums.
Kanye’s Catalog Potentially Up For Grabs
Following reports that Kanye West was considering selling his catalog, the artist took to Instagram on Tuesday to claim his work is potentially being sold without his approval.
On Monday, Billboard reported that West had been “quietly and intermittently shopping his publishing catalog.”
While the outlet’s sources did not reveal what price West was aiming for, Billboard estimated that West might be looking at a $175 million valuation for his discography. Some of Billboard’s sources seemingly suggested that West and his team were specifically behind the effort to sell his work, but others claimed the “catalog was never actively shopped” and instead, West had been receiving offers from potential buyers.
Not long after, several news outlets picked the story up and reported that West was gearing up to sell his catalog. West responded by writing on his Instagram story that this was not the case.
“Not For Sale”
“Just like Taylor Swift,” he said, referencing music mogul Scooter Braun purchasing Swift’s masters with Big Machine Records without her approval. “My publishing is being put up for my sale without my knowledge. Not for sale.”
Swift referred to the sale of her masters to Braun as her “worst case scenario.” In order to regain ownership of her work, she is in the process of re-recording her first six albums, all of which she originally made under Big Machine. Two have already been released and proved to be wildly commercially successful.
According to Forbes, it is unclear which of his albums West owns the masters to, if he owns any at all. Because of this, it is unknown what kind of position he would be put in if his catalog, which is currently managed by Sony, was sold.
The status of any potential for his work to be sold became foggier later on Tuesday when West shared screenshots of a text exchange he had. He asked an unidentified person what was happening with the catalog sale, and that person responded by calling it “fake news.”
“Of course every publisher wants to pitch [their] hardest buy, smh,” the text continued.
West did not further indicate if those texts were meant to clarify that his catalog was, in fact, not up for sale, or just further distance himself from any potential acquisition.