E.T. michael peterson
A still from E.T.

Steven Spielberg classics E.T. and Jaws are coming to IMAX for the first time ever later this year; Disney CEO Bob Chapek surprises everyone with a high-profile firing; a look at the recent pushback against dramatic retellings, including a hot take from Michael Peterson about HBO’s The Staircase. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.

But First: In L.A. today? Come meet MovieMaker publisher Deirdre McCarrick and editor Tim Molloy at the Cine Gear Expo to talk filmmaking and how we can help you double your production budget. We’ll be in Room 515A at 1 p.m. PT. See you then!

Spielberg on the Big-Big Screen: E.T. and Jaws, two Steven Spielberg classics, are coming to IMAX for the very first time. “E.T. will be released exclusively on IMAX beginning August 12, in celebration of the film’s 40th Anniversary, with Jaws to be released on IMAX and in RealD 3D beginning September 2,” Deadline reports. I caught the brand new IMAX version of E.T. at TCM Classic Film Festival in April, and it was stunning. I’d go again in a heartbeat. And I’ll see you at Jaws this fall as well. Although, let’s be honest — Jaws in IMAX on the 4th of July would’ve been perfect. But hey, there’s always 2023.

Watcher Influences: I’m a big fan of Watcher, so I was pleased to see director Chloe Okuno’s list of five influences on her voyeur thriller for The New York Times. It’s no surprise that Polanski and Fincher crop up, but the other three choices will likely surprise you. Hint: they’re not all horror films.

Disney Shake-Up: After the Scarlett Johansson contract dispute and an ongoing battle with Florida governor Ron DeSantis, Bob Chapek’s rocky tenure as Disney CEO continued yesterday when he took the world (and notably, his employees) by surprise when he fired Peter Rice, the chairman of Disney’s entertainment and programming. If you want the lowdown via audio, I highly recommend yesterday’s emergency podcast of Matthew Belloni’s The Town. Otherwise, read Kim Masters’ inside report for The Hollywood Reporter which is filled with high-level sources giving candid takes on the situation. One Disney insider tells Masters that “morale is terrible” at the company. Yikes.

Tabitha Jackson Makes First Public Appearance: Two days after stepping down as the director of the Sundance Film Festival, Tabitha Jackson was interviewed by Best Girl Grip podcast host Nicole Davis for a Sundance London event, Variety reports. Variety asked Jackson what she plans to do next and she replied, “A hammock, a cocktail and to think about how to support arts going forward.”

Fact v. Fiction: Scrutiny over fictionalized narratives based on true events seems to have reached a fever pitch, and it’s not just Michael Peterson, who we’ll get to in a moment. First, here are just a few other recent ones: Former Vanity Fair staffer Rachel Williams called Netflix’s Inventing Anna “dangerous.” Then, in a funny bit of irony, former Los Angeles Laker Jerry West seemed very angry over Jason Clarke’s hot-headed portrayal of him in HBO’s Winning Time and threatened to sue over it. Some insiders questioned the veracity of the non-fiction book that HBO Max’s Tokyo Vice is based on, which feels a little different since the fiction account isn’t being attacked.

Back to Jerry West: The New Yorker investigates West’s case and the implications if he were to succeed in a hypothetical lawsuit. Don’t worry, First Amendment supporters — the consensus seems to be that he would face an “uphill battle” in any lawsuit.

Now This: Michael Peterson emailed with Variety to express displeasure with how he and his family were represented in the HBO true-crime adaptation The Staircase. Peterson was initially convicted in 2003 of murdering his wife Kathleen Peterson before a retrial hearing found one of the key witnesses for the prosecution had misled the jury. A free man after an Alford Plea in 2017, Michael Peterson calls certain fictionalized elements of the mini-series “egregious fabrications.” He also feels Jean de Lestrade, the French director of the documentary series the HBO show is based on, “pimped out” him and his family.

While We’re Keeping Track: Lestrade also feels betrayed by HBO’s dramatization of his Netflix documentary series.

Palm Springs International ShortFest: One of our top short film festivals has announced their forum programs. Forum topics this year include: “Everywhere All at Once: Distributing Your Short,” “Finding Your Collaborators,” “Ask Me Anything: Agents & Managers” and many more critical topics. The festival is split between virtual panels and events that run from June 22-23 and in-person events, which run June 24-26.

Speaking of Shorts: I leave you with my favorite short film of all time: “Unpresidented.” Set against the looming inauguration of President Donald Trump in early 2017, its narrative may feel dated, but it’s far too funny and well-crafted to let that slow it down. New York indie staple Keith Poulson is doing solid work as always, but it’s Mike Swift’s fast-talking, Trump-betting performance as Keith that steals the show here. The quick zoom cut to Keith’s “Look, I had problems with both candidates” which then cuts to a guy playing saxophone in the subway is pitch-perfect editing for comedy. Every so often, my friend and I will text to let one another that we’ve “watched ‘Unpresidented’ again.” I’m confident you’ll be adding the phrase, “That’s a my bad,” to your lexicon after viewing director Jason Giampietro’s underrated gem.

Main image: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, from director Steven Spielberg