About the show

Sonny Bunch hosts The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood, a new podcast featuring interviews with folks who have their finger on the pulse of the entertainment industry during this dynamic—and difficult—time.

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  • Janice Min on the Future of Entertainment Media

    January 28th, 2022  |  34 mins 11 secs

    This week on the show, Sonny is joined by Janice Min, who has teamed up with BGTH favorite Richard Rushfield to beef up Richard’s fabulous newsletter, The Ankler. Sonny and Janice discussed her career from US Weekly to the Hollywood Reporter to the wild world of Substack newsletters, how the Hollywood trades are defying the death of advertising, their strategy for spinoff newsletters, and why the folks at Y Combinator reached out to her and Richard about the potential of The Ankler to become a billion-dollar property. It’s a fascinating, in-depth look into the business, and the future, of entertainment reporting.

  • Programming TV's Most Beloved Festival

    January 20th, 2022  |  29 mins 56 secs

    On this week’s episode, Sonny Bunch talks to Rene Reyes, the Paley Center for Media’s Vice President of Public Programming and Festivals. Among other duties, Rene plans the much-loved PaleyFest LA, which has panels featuring some of the biggest and most critically acclaimed shows on television. We talked about the joys (and COVID-related challenges) of in-person festivals and ran through some of the panels that will take place at this year’s event. You can see this year’s full lineup here; highlights include panels on Hacks, black-ish, and a salute to the NCIS franchise. Paley Center members can buy tickets now and they go on sale to the general public tomorrow.

  • How Audiences Reshape the Movies You Love

    January 13th, 2022  |  44 mins 17 secs

    Kevin Goetz talks "Audienceology" and the art of audience testing.

  • 'The Spine of Night' and the Business of Animation

    January 6th, 2022  |  31 mins 50 secs

    Sonny is joined by Philip Gelatt this week. In addition to talking about the art of rotoscoping and the years-long effort to get his new film The Spine of Night made, and then released, we also discuss the state of animation more broadly in America and beyond. As a script adapter on Love, Death + Robots, Netflix’s hit animated anthology, he has a lot of experience and wisdom to share in this realm. And if you’re curious about The Spine of Night, check out the trailer here. Full disclosure: it’s not safe for work and not safe for kids. But it is pretty great, especially if you’re into cult classics like Heavy Metal and Ralph Bakshi’s animated Lord of the Rings adaptation.

  • 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' Co-Writer Chris McKenna

    December 30th, 2021  |  46 mins 27 secs

    On this week’s episode, Sonny is joined by Chris McKenna who, along with his writing partner Erik Sommers, wrote Spider-Man: No Way Home, which has grossed about $1.2 billion around the world … so far. In this in-depth interview, Chris discusses how a blockbuster of this nature gets made, from pitch meetings to brainstorming sessions to rewrites during the shoot to additional photography to tightening the ship following test screenings. We also talk a bit about the state of the business and why it’ll be a real bummer if the theatrical dies off. Plus, we learn that a very special Spider-Villain is a listener of this podcast! (Or, well, has listened to an episode.)

  • The Greatest Movie Ever Made Hits 4K

    December 16th, 2021  |  33 mins 45 secs

    Last month the Criterion Collection kicked off its new 4K lineup with what is, arguably, the greatest movie ever made: Citizen Kane. And the disc is absolutely loaded with special features, including a rarely seen BBC documentary on the making of the movie, multiple commentary tracks, and numerous interviews—including one with film historian Farran Smith Nehme. She joined Sonny to talk about Citizen Kane, how it got made, how William Randolph Hearst tried to smother it in the crib, and why it’s considered to be one of the great films. We also talked about her new Substack, which you can check out here, and the transformation of blogs into newsletters.

  • Tim Miller and Sonny Talk 'Don't Look Up'

    December 10th, 2021  |  35 mins 17 secs

    Special bonus episode this week, as The Bulwark’s Tim Miller stops by to talk about Don’t Look Up, the new satire from Adam McKay (Vice, Step Brothers), as well as how it felt to return to the multiplex and take in some movies. (You can read Sonny’s review of Don’t Look Up and Red Rocket, two films that are very much about the last five or six years of American life, here.) If you enjoy it, share it with a friend!

  • All I Want for Christmas Are ... HDMI Cables?

    December 9th, 2021  |  45 mins 52 secs

    Tony Davis returns to the show to talk HDR formats, home theater setups, and why it's time to upgrade those cables.

  • Tracking—And Recapturing—Movie Audiences

    December 2nd, 2021  |  33 mins 5 secs

    On this week’s episode, Sonny talks to David Herrin the CEO and founder of The Quorum, a film research firm that has done something rather remarkable in making tracking data available to the public in the same way that box office data is available to the public. “Tracking” numbers are the data points used by studios to help determine how a film will perform in theaters, and The Quorum is building a hearty database for movie nerds to dive into. In addition to discussing The Quorum’s new study examining why audiences are hesitant to return to theaters—spoiler: cost and COVID remain the two biggest factors—we also chat about the state of the business and what’s likely to come. I encourage you to poke around at The Quorum’s website if you’re a fan of sites like Box Office Mojo; there’s all sorts of interesting stuff there. And share this post with a friend if you enjoyed our chat!

  • A Century of Black Cinema

    November 18th, 2021  |  1 hr 1 min

    On this week’s episode, Sonny is joined by Wil Haygood, author of the new book Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World. Haygood’s book is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn about largely forgotten trailblazers such as Oscar Micheaux, better-known figures like Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, the controversies over movies as diverse as The Birth of a Nation and Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, the odd fate of Porgy and Bess, and so much more. Colorization is both breezy and in-depth—the best sort of popular history—and our conversation only scratched the surface of his book. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend!

  • 'The Beta Test' Director Jim Cummings on Indie Life

    November 4th, 2021  |  32 mins 47 secs

    On this week’s episode, Sonny is joined by Jim Cummings, whose new feature The Beta Test drops on VOD and in select theaters Friday, Nov. 5. In addition to discussing his few film and its acidic take on the dispute between talent agencies and the WGA, Jim also talks about landing a featured role in Halloween Kills, how he financed and distributed his first feature, Thunder Road, and his horror-comedy The Wolf of Snow Hollow (which topped Sonny’s best-of list in 2020). If you enjoyed this episode, share it with a friend!