Monday, April 22, 2024

Hollywood Retreat: Jonathan Majors’ “Magazine Dreams” Have Turned Into a Nightmare for Disney’s Searchlight and Marvel Studios


Jonathan Majors was the hottest movie star of the winter. He starred in “Creed III” and “Ant Man 3” and was Most Wanted by every studio. His Sundance film, “Magazine Dreams,” was bought up by Disney’s Searchlight studio for a lot of money and set for late fall release with Oscars on the agenda.

Not only that: Majors’ Kang the Conqueror was set to be the new villain in two “Avengers” movies set for 2025 and 2026 from Marvel, which is also Disney. How much hotter could you be? I met Majors at the Oscars and, like everyone else, was thrilled to greet the new hot star in town.

But then came The Incident. A week after the Oscars, in New York, Majors was arrested on domestic violence charges. It’s claimed he tried to strangle his girlfriend. He’s innocent until proven guilty, but not in Hollywood. This week his management company and his publicity team each dropped him. His talent agency is still with him, but everyone else seems to have fled before hearing the evidence. Majors has to be crushed. No one could have predicted this career destruction.

Can it be fixed? If Majors can bring the public proof that he’s innocent, yes. And quickly. He’s losing jobs left and right. Searchlight has the biggest exposure right now. They’ve invested a lot in “Magazine Dreams.” But they’ve also been down this road before. A few years ago they set up Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” until Parker got trapped in the scandal surrounding his undisclosed college rape trial. The whole Oscar campaign was shelved, the movie was dumped into theaters, and no one spoke of it again. This could happen to “Magazine Dreams.” Let’s hope it doesn’t, and this is all a big misunderstanding.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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