☀️ BARBENHEIMER Lessons to Remember; Meet Showrunner AI
DIS+ tests new HULU synergy idea / LGF adjusts Film Calendar / AMC Theaters kills pricier seating plan
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty (connect here on LINKED-IN if ya like) and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on FRIDAY July 21, 2023.
Where… yeah this video should be played on Day 1 of whenever SAG (and/or WGA) and AMPTP sit back down together.
It was output by a company called FABLE STUDIO, who created something called Showrunner AI. Nice choice of title.
Ina Fried at Axios was approached by FABLE to create a short South Park episode, featuring Ina (FABLE also tweeted out other ‘episodes’, aggregated here). All Ina had to do was pick SP characters and essentially supply a logline.
FABLE STUDIO scraped some public images of Ina and Matt & Trey (who are involved in Ina’s plot choice) and… Showrunner AI output the rest.
Ina outlines everything here, and yes… SP’s pretty basic animation style is unique in being friendly to AI usage, nor is this perfect by any means - but it’s pretty good, and you could very easily see how this could get you say 60% there, and the finalization would need a lot fewer people involved.
PLUS: Imagine what this tech capability looks like by the next Guild deal negotiations in 2026 (and beyond). This ability goes in one direction, and it’s the opposite of the one that Hollywood’s Cable TV industry bedrock is going in.
The South Park team has nothing to do with it creatively, or financially (and FABLE is not making Revenue on this specifically to my knowledge).
BACK IN REALITY
A REST IN PEACE: Goes out to the one and only, Tony Bennett, who died at 96-years-old.
And to longtime industry publicist and GERSH SVP of Comms Cari Ross, who died this week at age 59 from a heart condition.
ALSO: AMAZON agreed to pay a $25 Million settlement with the Federal Government over accusations Alexa violated the privacy rights of children. Think the company will be OK? 😬
AND: Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla (Presley) pic will be the ‘Centerpiece’ film at the NYFF this October, with its North American premiere on Oct 6.
TOO MUCH TECH: For the first time ever in JD Power’s annual car owner survey, satisfaction has dropped 2 years in a row because people hate the tech automakers have jammed into car dashboards… and just prefer to pipe in the apps they know how to use from their phone instead #OldSchool.
NOTE FOR JANICE: Lionel Messi makes his MLS debut tonight for INTER MIAMI in
Miami Fort Lauderdale tonight at 8p on APPLE TV+
And the US Soccer Women’s National Team takes the pitch down under in the World Cup at 9p on FOX against VIETNAM.
OH: The most popular TV show on the latest US Streaming NIELSEN chart was… a Cable TV show from the mid 2010s - that would be Suits. It just hit NETFLIX which spurred the appearance (it’s also been avail on PEACOCK which… still had it at the top of my PEACOCK home page today - thinking it’s mostly NETFLIX viewing).
Anyone wanna ask the writers & actors on that series how much their increased residual checks will be?
CORRECTION from my NETFLIX Q2 breakdown yesterday: The $20 NETFLIX Premium plan allows you to add on 2 members outside your household, not 3 (though I really coulda sworn it said 3 when I checked Monday).
WAKEUP BOX OFFICE POLL: The Sequel
Let’s throw some love to Oppenheimer as well, as we enter likely the biggest Box Office event of the Summer and probably the year (all due respect to #GranDemeter in 3 weeks).
The film opens on 3600 screens (including the IMAX of course).
This poll received the most votes of any Box Office Poll that I’ve ever done. And clearly no one has any idea.
BIGGER PICTURE: GET BACK TO EVENTIZING, HOLLYWOOD!
We’re on the cusp of a sort-of historic post-pandemic weekend at the Box Office, if the movies deliver anywhere near expected. Here’s what we could be looking at:
Barbie: let’s just say $120 Mil (maybe more… but who knows ☝️)
Oppenheimer say $50 Mil
MI:7 perhaps $27 Mil
Sound of Freedom maybe $20 Mil?
That alone is $217 Million for the Top 5. Yes, Spider-Man: No Way Home did more than that in its opening weekend in Dec 2021 (making for $281 Mil total BO)… but to my quick recollection this would be next - and depending on the long tail this weekend, who knows?
Plus, to have a weekend with also such a wide variety of genres for different audiences - don’t forget the Family option in Elemental, and R-rated comedy in No Hard Feelings & Joy Ride, and horror with Insidious 5 - is certainly refreshing to see again on the movie marquee.
While the “future” of our business may be Streaming… Hollywood needs to remember that what it does best is create cultural events - something that perhaps has gotten lost in this new age of “Watch when ya like, we don’t care” of the Streaming era.
Events are what make Sports, well, Sports… (and why their audiences are still as strong as ever), and Hollywood used to do a lot more of this head-to-head eventizing too - demand people’s attention at a certain time and place. Please don’t let the talk of the town in this regard become relegated to just Earning Season calls. Please.
Getting back to that ethos may be something to think about striving for more often, and yes for the Streamers out there - that involves a real marketing spend.
A spend which benefits you too B-List actors looking to get on the A-List... keep that in mind when you’re taking too many big Streamer paychecks.
Remember - we’ve been talking about Barbie for a month and the film is just coming out today. How many Streaming movies can you say that about?
AND: Even NETFLIX is learning this too, as Live is one of their biggest areas of expansion (once they fix their Live-TV tech ‘gremlins’ of course): F1 Drivers vs. PGA Golfers, (failed) Dating show reveals, and Chris Rock vs. Will Smith.
So - enjoy the movies this weekend… whichever one you choose, and bask in the good, competitive reminder of what makes our business, ya know, fun! 🥳