DISNEY+ growth drastically slowed this Summer
PEACOCK orders PITCH PERFECT tv series / VIACOM bundles SHO & PAR+ for $10 / NETFLIX buys Roald Dahl complete works
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on WEDNESDAY September 22, 2021.
Where apparently it’s Autumn! 🍂 And a very busy news day… We’re also apparently getting a NETFLIX docu on the Britney Spears conservatorship case.
Here’s a very brief teaser - the trailer is dropping sometime today, and the movie on Tuesday next week… the day before her next court hearing.
ALSO: THE FUGEES are reuniting for a 12 city US tour starting in November to mark the 25th anniversary of their landmark album ”The Score”.
Pre-sale tickets go on sale today at 10am for certain credit card holders, and there’s some SPOTIFY deal thing too 🤷♂️ - link is here if inclined for all details & to buy.
AND: A Rest in Peace goes out to Willie Garson, who famously played “Stanford” on “Sex and the City” among other roles - he died yesterday at the age of 57 according a post made by his son on Instagram. He reportedly was battling cancer according to DEADLINE, but was still able to shoot scenes for the new HBOMAX SATC season this Summer according to paparazzi photos of the production around NYC.
Tom Ford’s husband, fashion journalist Richard Buckley also died at 72 years-old after a prolonged illness.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
SONY/TRI-STAR adds John Boyega to Viola Davis historical drama “The Woman King”
It’s set in the 18th/19th Century African Kingdom of Dahomey where Viola plays the general of an all-female military group fighting an invading enemy, threatening to enslave their people.
Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Old Guard”, “Love & Basketball”) is directing, John’s playing the ruler of Dahomey. /THR
NETFLIX buys the Roald Dahl catalog (“Matilda”, “Willy Wonka” etc)
No price disclosed, the company already had a deal to develop animated shows from his works, and has a live-action “Matilda” movie coming out next year, and a Taika Waitit Oompa-Loompah event series in the works.
But this is an outright purchase of the whole thing, for use across all mediums (movies, games, IRL experiences etc). /Bloomberg
ALSO IN MOVIES
“Shang Chi” & “Jungle Cruise” hitting DISNEY+ on Fri Nov 12, marking the 2 year anniversary of the service 🥳 (Also of note - Nov 12 is well beyond the established 45-day theatrical window for “Shang Chi”). /Variety
“Harry Potter” screenwriter Steve Kloves adapting NY TIMES bestseller “Northern Sky” for NETFLIX. About an Irish woman who finds out her younger sister is working with the IRA… and as an MI-5 informer. Stacey Sher producing. /Deadline
IN THE HOLLYWOOD EXECUTIVE SUITE
IMAGINE TV exec Samie Kim Falvey joins independent production company PICTURESTART as President of the company. /Variety
Former DISNEY CHANNEL head and current DISNEY BRANDED TV head Gary Marsh is leaving the DISNEY exec suite after 33 years at the end of the year. Will segue into a production deal there staring in 2022, no word on a replacement. /THR
LUCASFILM names Chris Coxall, DISNEY VP of Publicity & Comms as their new Head of PR. /THR
📺 THE TV SET
PEACOCK orders “Pitch Perfect” TV series starring Adam Devine
Devine’s character “Bumper” moves to Germany several years after the timeline of the movies when one of his songs becomes big in Berlin, as he seeks to bring his music career back to life.
Megan Amram (writer/producer on “The Good Place” & “Silicon Valley”) is showrunning, no additional talent from the movies mentioned as participating, although Elizabeth Banks is Exec Producing.
This joins “Field of Dreams”, “Macgruber” and ”Ted” among UNIVERSAL films getting the PEACOCK series treatment. #synergy /Variety
APPLE TV sets Sharon Horgan to co-write & star in a new dark Comedy series
The “Catastrophe” & “Divorce” star will play one of 2 sisters who have vowed to always take care of each other after the premature death of their parents. It’s an adaptation of a Flemish series, and those creatives will be involved as well.
10 episode order, Sharon signed a first-look deal at APPLE TV in 2019. /Variety
SHOWTIME sets Kathryn Hahn to play Joan Rivers in limited TV series
Limited Series called “The Comeback Girl” is currently in development with Greg Berlanti co-writing & directing. It would begin in 1989 with the cancellation of her FOX late night show, and suicide of her husband soon after their separation. /Variety
Monday Fall TV Premiere night audiences:
“NCIS: Hawai’i” : 6.6 Million on CBS (“NCIS” lead-in had 8.4 Million)
“Ordinary Joe” : 3.9 Million on NBC (“The Voice” lead-in had 7.2 Million)
“The Big Leap” : 1.5 Million on FOX (“9-1-1” lead in had 5.3 million… but “Leap” has been avail on HULU & FOX Digital platforms all week leading up).
CBS’s “The Neighborhood”, “Bob Hearts Abishola” and ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” all had about 5 to 5.5 Million viewers.
ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” had nearly 14 Million. /THR
ALSO IN TV
Dear SONY TV - Mayim Bialik would like to be the official full-time host of “Jeopardy!” for the record: "There's no other job I would rather have” according to her new GLAMOUR interview.
COMEDY CENTRAL orders 2 politically-themed animated projects Exec Produced by Stephen Colbert:
A series called “Fairview” about how national politics causes chaos in a rowdy small town, from the “Tooning Out the News” folks.
A movie called “Washingtonia” about a rising political star and his incompetent staff. /Deadline
PARAMOUNT+ renews “Rugrats” reboot for a Season 2. /Variety
NBC orders thriller series “The Endgame” starring Morena Baccarin (“Deadpool”) and Ryan Michelle Bathé (BET’s “First Wives Club”). Morena plays a recently captured international arms dealer who somehow finds a way to still run business while in custody, Ryan plays her FBI nemesis. /Variety
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
VIACOM offering $10/month SHOWTIME & PARAMOUNT+ subscription
That’s for the PAR+ Ad-supported version, but… considering SHOWTIME alone costs $11/month - gotta say I’m not sure the math checks out on this one. Then again - hey that’s a problem for whomever Shari Redstone sells the company to 🥸.
SHOWTIME & Ad-free PAR+ costs $13 a month, almost a 40% discount. While VIACOM used to also offer a SHOWTIME & CBS ALL ACCESS $10 a month deal… this is not a great sign.
#MediaNerd Dive 🤓 : Essentially it seems VIACOM is looking to offset the deep-discount by (hopefully) getting a larger PAR+ Ad-Supported subscriber base to sell Ads to in order to make up the revenue. And then some.
It also seems like that the newer entrants into streaming (DISCOVERY+, PEACOCK, and PAR+) are learning that they can’t beat NETFLIX at the subscription-only game, and will try and make the #s work by emphasizing the space NETFLIX has shown no interest in - the (lower-priced) Ad supported streaming service business. Where if you get a big enough subscriber base, you can make more $$ per customer than with an Ad-free product (DISCOVERY+ and HULU have both proven this quite well so far). Problem is - this doesn’t scale well into a global business model like NETFLIX has… but first things first here in the US.
Although ultimately, HBOMAX potentially looks primed to best take advantage of this tactic… as they inherited a huge well-priced legacy subscriber-only business in HBO, and at $10/month for HBOMAX with Ads, could be in a pretty sweet position here in the US about a year from now once the Ad-supported product has had time to take hold.
DISNEY+ seems content keeping things ad-free, although…
DISNEY CEO Bob Chapek indicates DISNEY+ subscriber growth slowing significantly
Bob said they’re expecting Q4 growth (July-Sept is their fiscal Q4) to be in the “low, single-digit millions of subscribers” (3 million, maybe 4??). DIS+ added 13 Million in the last quarter, and 16 Million in the same quarter a year ago so… #NotGreatBob.
He did say their “long term” subscriber goals are unchanged, but… that the growth to get there won’t be a straight line in the upward direction.
US DISNEY+ growth was estimated to have more or less already flatlined in the last quarter (April-June) so “Black Widow” and “Jungle Cruise” don’t seem to have had much of a boost for the cause here, and the lack of a new marquee MARVEL or STAR WARS series in the quarter didn’t help.
DIS stock fell over 4% mid-afternoon yesterday after the news. /Variety
Local TV station owner TEGNA receives competing sale bids
TEGNA owns 64 local TV stations in 51 markets including Seattle, Denver, Charlotte, and Houston. The top 2 contenders are both 2 companies teaming up:
Hedge fund STANDARD GENERAL + private equity group APOLLO
TV magnate Byron Allen + investment firm ARES Management
Byron’s is reportedly at $23/share, APOLLO’s at $22/share according to BLOOMBERG, which would put them in the $8 Billion range. Or about what AMAZON paid for MGM.
A week ago TEGNA was at $17 a share, it’s now over $21 a share, including a 10+% bump on this news. It was exploring a sale pre-pandemic but hit pause on that when Covid hit.
Byron bought 7 local TV affiliates earlier this year to make 24 stations that ALLEN MEDIA GROUP now owns, in addition to THE WEATHER CHANNEL as well as several other smaller cable networks. /Deadline
ALSO IN MEDIA
CAMEO adds “Cameo Calls” feature where you can pay for a live video chat with a celeb up to 15 minutes long, vs. just getting a pre-recorded video. /WSJ
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
WARNER MUSIC GROUP got collateral damage from the UNIVERSAL MUSIC stock debut… in a good way, +12%
SNAP also +6%
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
FOX “The Masked Singer” season premiere at 8p; “Alter Ego” series premiere at 9p
ABC Wednesday night lineup premieres, including “The Wonder Years” reboot at 8:30p followed by“The Connors” - Live episode season premiere, where a character will call a sweepstakes viewer live on-air as part of the plot of the show at 9p
CBS “Survivor” season premiere at 8p
NBC “Chicago” lineup season premieres
NETFLIX “Dear White People” Season 4, a musical one. CLICK HERE to watch or Add to your List
If you were sent this newsletter or… just kinda found it:
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
NETFLIX “Passing” trailer. Tessa Thompson & Ruth Negga as two Black women who can “pass” for White in late 1920’s Harlem - one of whom identifies as Black and the other as White. The 2 childhood friends reunite by chance, and their lives become complicatingly intertwined from there, directed by Rebecca Hall. Hits theaters and streaming on Wed Nov 10.
APPLE TV+ “The Tragedy of Macbeth” trailer. They’re calling this a trailer, but pretty much a teaser - under a minute. Denzel, McDormand, directed by Joel Coen. In theaters Fri Dec 24, on APPLE TV Fri Jan 14.
NAT GEO “The Hot Zone: ANTHRAX” trailer. 3 part mini-series “inspired by” the post 9/11 Anthrax in the mail scare. Premieres Sun Nov 28.
HBOMAX DOCU “15 Minutes of Shame” trailer. Monica Lewinsky is among the producers. Examines the effects and aftermath of people who’ve been publicly shamed, doxxed, or cyber-harassed, and the roles media & social platforms play in the mix. Premieres Thu Oct 7.
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
LIL NAS X “That’s What I Want” - New single from his just released full length album.
Stream the album here on SPOTIFY or:
If you need new tunes:
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