Britney Spears’ legal battle takes another turn, and Reese Witherspoon could be joining the billionaires club. All of it is occurring in the umbra of the Cannes Film Festival kickoff and Marvel’s “Black Widow” finally getting its bow in movie theaters this weekend.
In this week’s episode of Variety’s new video series, “The Take,” presented by VIZIO, senior correspondent Elizabeth Wagmeister and film awards editor Clayton Davis discuss their takes on some of the week’s biggest headlines.
As Spears awaits her next hearing on July 14, the pop star’s contentious conservatorship battle has faced multiple shakeups and stunning new developments. Spears’ manager of 25 years, Larry Rudolph, resigned, and her court-appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham III, filed paperwork asking the court to dismiss him from the case. The #FreeBritney movement is getting louder by the day, and the facts surrounding the case are bringing scrutiny and debate in the public on the system’s treatment of women and their rights. This leads to the big question: what is next for Spears, as she seeks to terminate her 13-year conservatorship?
Meanwhile, over in France, the 73rd Cannes Film Festival launched with Leos Carax’s “Annette,” starring Oscar nominee Adam Driver and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard. Following a 5-minute standing ovation from attendees and the lighting of a cigarette from Driver, many pundits began to weigh in on the significance that one of the “Big Three” major European festivals could have on this upcoming awards season since it’s being held in July versus its normal May timeline. Aside from the divisive reception to Carax’s operatic musical, other films received warm receptions from critics, including Focus Features’ “Stillwater” with Matt Damon and Amazon Studios’ documentary “Val,” which follows the life and career of actor Val Kilmer.
Hello Sunshine, the media company founded by Oscar-winning actor and producer Witherspoon, is exploring a sale for as much as $1 billion. The savvy, female-fronted banner is known for optioning books and turning them into television hits, such as HBO’s “Big Little Lies” and Apple TV Plus’ “The Morning Show,” in addition to box office hits and critically acclaimed films like “Gone Girl” and “Wild.” While the billion-dollar price-tag is a hefty sum for a relatively young company, Wagmeister says, “Any time you can put the number ‘billion’ next to a woman, I am all for it. And Reese has really done the work. She is putting women in decision-making seats.”
Scarlett Johansson’s “Black Widow” has finally opened in theaters and on Disney Plus. Directed by Cate Shortland, this next venture in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has received praise from audiences, but as the events of the film take place between “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” was this spin-off of the first female Avenger, too little too late? “She dies at the end of ‘Avengers: Endgame.’ That removes all the stakes from this movie,” Davis says, sharing his take. “Why are we doing this? If they didn’t do it back then, I don’t know if we should now.”
The ’90s are back if Vegas has anything to say about it. Some members of Backstreet Boys, Boyz II Men, and N’SYNC are joining forces in August for a four-night-only show in Sin City. In this week’s episode of “The Take,” our two hosts — who grew up during the peak of the groups’ stardom — are fanning out over the news of the iconic group’s upcoming collaboration.
Hosted by Variety senior correspondent Elizabeth Wagmeister and awards editor Clayton Davis, “The Take,” presented by VIZIO, is a weekly series that will navigate the week’s top stories from the entertainment world, pop culture and media while providing expert analysis and exclusive insight on what’s buzzing in Hollywood. Filmed in Variety‘s state-of-the-art studios in Los Angeles, new episodes are released weekly on Fridays on Variety.com, YouTube and social media. The short-form series will also be available on VIZIO SmartCast TVs in July and August.
Make sure to let us know…What’s your take?