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NETFLIX exploring Gaming, Podcast businesses
Mark Ruffalo joins THE FAVOURITE director's next pic / New HIGHLANDER movie gets lead / AXIOS in sales talks
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on MONDAY May 24, 2021.
Where thankfully… no one sold a movie studio this weekend. But one full week after the WARNER DISCO deal, you can make your own deal to buy DISCOVERY CEO David Zaslav’s Greenwich Village townhouse for $18 Million, which amounts to just half the 💰 David made in 2020.
To note: this is not the townhouse where the WARNER DISCO deal went down - Zaslav rented another Village townhouse where the industry shifting deal was actually negotiated according to the NY Times. What? You don’t rent a townhouse to do your mergers in? (Note: This townhouse of his is currently having work done). Here’s what it’ll look like when finished:
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
He will play one of the 2 main roles, but still TBD. No plot details revealed. /Deadline
Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe already set for the SEARCHLIGHT movie called “Poor Things”. Emma plays a young woman brought back to life by an eccentric scientist in the Victorian era. Ruffalo’s role not detailed. /THR
“Spiral” : $4.5 Million ($15.8 Million US, $22 Mil globally)
“Wrath of Man” : $2.9 Million ($18.8 Million US, $56 Mil Globally)
“Those Who Wish Me Dead” : $1.8 Million ($5.5 Million US)
“Raya & the Last Dragon” : $1.6 Million ($48 Million US)
“Godzilla vs Kong” : $1.4 Million ($97 Million US)
MEANWHILE IN CHINA… “F9” opened to $135 million, about $55 Million less than the last Fast movie, which set the China record high for the franchise. But it is the first $100+ Million opening in China for a US film since “Avengers Endgame”.
ALSO IN MOVIES
The Rock to be the lead voice for WB / DC’s animated movie “DC League of Super-Pets”. Will voice “Krypto the Super-Dog” and also joins the project as a producer. /THR
Indie studio SOLSTICE sells Mark Wahlberg’s next movie “Joe Bell” to ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS & VERTICAL ENTERTAINMENT. Will have a July 23 release on 750 screens. SOLSTICE bought it at TIFF in September for $20 Million but no word on a sale price/deal terms here. /Deadline
AMC THEATERS’s Chinese owner WANDA CORP sells off their shares on the market for $426 Million. They had a controlling interest in the largest US Movie Theater chain since 2012, and began to cash out at AMC’s Reddit-trader driven stock price boom early this Spring, selling an additional $220 Million worth of stock then. /THR
📺 THE TV SET
There was a writer exodus after this last season, then CBS launched a workplace investigation, and now this with no further statement. Glenn’s CBS STUDIOS deal is also over.
Separately, “Bull” co-star Freddie Rodriguez also departing the series after a CBS “workplace investigation”, for which details were not released. The show is already renewed for the Fall season. /THR
The show also paid actress Eliza Dushku $9.5 Million in 2018 after a lawsuit filed when she was written-off the show after bringing claims of harassment against star Michael Weatherly. /NYT
Odd for a show who’s launch poster was this 🤔.
ALSO IN TV
WB TV brings over Rebecca Marks from NBCU to head up their Communications department. Will start June 1. /THR
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
NETFLIX looking to add Gaming and Podcast execs
GAMING: They’re reportedly looking to recruit an exec to lead up a Gaming product/division, that could be akin to APPLE ARCADE (monthly subscription to play an array of games). /The Information
PODCASTS: As of now… it looks like they’re looking for someone to head up a Podcasts group doing content around NETFLIX shows and movies… But certainly speculation starting that they could have plans to start up their own podcast production division (a la a WONDERY). /LA TIMES
With both of these rumors/leaks, it seems like NETFLIX is shifting its growth mindset in next 5+ years from vertical to horizontal, at least in the US.
Meaning - US subscriber growth has plateaued: most people who want it, have it. Plus obviously NETFLIX now has far increased competition, especially in the US.
Also as NETFLIX is now at a $14 price point, raising prices to increase revenue is also a lever with little pull left in it. So save for a severe password sharing crackdown - squeezing significantly more money out of US video streaming looks daunting.
Enter - expanding what NETFLIX is… to increase revenue in the 2020’s, complimented of course by further continued International subscriber growth. Thus transitioning NETFLIX from a video/TV & MOVIES product, to an app you open to be entertained in a variety of ways: Reed Hastings has long cited gaming as NETFLIX’s biggest, or one of its biggest competitors.
Totally just my take: You could see a scenario where you could pay $14 for NETFLIX VIDEO, and add on NETFLIX GAMES for another $5 and NETFLIX ORIGINAL PODCASTS for $4. Basically - expanding into a classic hub-and-spoke business, vs just selling an all-in-one product (all due respect to the still existing DVD mail rental business of course).
AXEL owns the INSIDER brand, many German publications, and recently bought MORNING BREW, so looks like they want to double down on the newsletter business. /The Information
ALSO: Does anyone have a number for AXEL SPRINGER? Asking for a friend. Named Sean.
SPACES is their CLUBHOUSE-esque feature. TICKETED SPACES will allow users to hold live audio chats on TWITTER and charge admission, and will launch in June TBD in the US.
An account must have at least 1k followers to hold a TICKETED SPACES event, and have held 3 public/open SPACES chats in the past 30 days.
APPLE or GOOGLE will take 30% of your money, and then TWITTER will take 20% of what’s left. For simply hosting an audio stream. (Note: Don’t expect this APPLE 30% vig conversation to go away after the EPIC trial ends).
ALSO IN MEDIA
TRIBUNE PUBLISHING (NY DAILY NEWS, CHICAGO TRIBUNE and many other newspapers) officially sells to the Devi…I mean ALDEN MEDIA CAPITAL private equity group, a company known for buying papers and slashing employees. /Bloomberg
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
Pretty quiet Friday.
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
Eight, 30-min episodes - perfect weekend binge. Or uh a Monday night works too.
If you were sent this email or… just kinda found it:
And if you wanna send the newsletter to a co-worker:
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
No new trailers today but I love this SNL Weekend Update bit Che & Jost do every season finale where they write entirely inappropriate jokes for each other to read… without the other having seen them prior.
🕵️♂️ THE WEEK AHEAD
TUE - VIMEO goes public, spinning off of IAC
WED - Summer primetime game shows return to ABC
THU - Your FRIENDS return! Well your 90’s friends. #HowYOUdoin
FRI - Summer Movie Season begins!! “A Quiet Place 2” and “Cruella” hit theaters.
Or of course you can just go hang out on Barry Diller Island (pretty sure that’s not the official name) which opened in NYC over the weekend on the Hudson River at 14th street… conveinently just a few blocks down from the headquarters of Barry’s company IAC.
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
New BLAKE SHELTON album is out, “Body Language”. With 0 songs explicitly about drinking. #TeamGwen. But there is a song about Corn. It’s called “Corn”. And that’s actually not a joke.
So… let’s go out with “Monday Mornin’ Missin’ You” instead given the day of the week. When apparently there are no G’s allowed in the Shelton household:
If you need new tunes:
Have a sublime start of the week sublime people - Email me anytime - just reply to this email, or connect here on LINKED IN.