NETFLIX layoffs 2X larger than expected - what lies ahead
APPLE orders Edith Wharton series / Is ROKU working on a deal different than NETFLIX? / Spy Kids NETFLIX reboot sets leads
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on FRIDAY June 24, 2022.
Where I did a double take this morning 👀with our Friday morning coffee ☕️ location since I thought it was at my apartment! But no, this one is actually Hugh Jackman’s triplex in the west West Village, and for the $40 Million pricetag… he better be throwing in the coffee.
Especially since, well he owns his own coffee company. But I expect oat milk on the house Hugh.
AND: Honestly I’m still just looking around my own NYC apartment and questioning my life choices.
BUT: As I round out my 2nd week here at The Ankler - just sending a sincere thanks 🤝 to those new readers here who have kindly dropped an email or a tweet so far. Plus - nothing from people I went to high school with so far, so it’s working out well.
Any thoughts, honest feedback, questions or notes to just say 👋 are welcome anytime - my contact info is always at the bottom of the email. Which today features some brand new TSwift by the way. And… now everyone is going right to that and skipping everything I wrote in-between today aren’t they. 🤦♂️
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
NETFLIX sets Gina Rodriguez & Zachary Levi as the parental leads in their “Spy Kids” reboot
Robert Rodriguez is back to direct and is co-writing the script with his son Racer. SKYDANCE and SPYGLASS producing. /Deadline
ALSO IN MOVIES
LIONSGATE picks up Horror pic project produced by Adam McKay called “Breeders”, to star Olivia Cooke (“GOT: House of Dragons”, “Sound of Metal” pic). McKay also helped come with the idea which… they are keeping to themselves - so I’m going with a biopic of the 90’s alt-rock band gone terribly wrong. #Cannonball /THR
UNI is high on Leigh Whannel (“The Invisible Man”) to direct their “Green Hornet & Kato” pic. David Koepp delivered a go-script, so this should move fast if Leigh’s deal gets done - although no details on what the story take is here. /Deadline
A Rest in Peace goes out to film producer Duncan Henderson, who died at 72 years old this week from pancreatic cancer. He was a producer on films from “The Perfect Storm” to “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “Master and Commander”. /THR
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📺 THE TV SET
APPLE orders Edith Wharton drama “The Buccaneers”
Sadly Sir Gronk will not be co-starring 👆. Inspired by Wharton’s last (unfinished) book, about a group of young American girls sent to 1870’s London to secure husbands and titles… but yeah sounds like they have other ideas.
Cast includes Kristine Froseth (“The Assistant”), Alisha Boe (“13 Reasons Why”) and Josie Totah (“Saved by the Bell”).
Currently shooting in SCOTLAND, 8 episodes, Susanna White (”Generation Kill”, ”Jane Eyre”) is the lead director. /THR
APPLE TV+ adds Moses Ingram (“Obi-Wan Kenobi”) to Natalie Portman limited series
Moses is replacing Lupita Nyong’o who left the series (called “Lady in the Lake”) which was already in production in May.
The 1960’s Baltimore project directed by Alma Har’el (”Honey Boy”) is about a housewife who reinvents herself as an investigative journalist looking into an unsolved murder, which somehow sets her on a collision course with a working class mother committed to advancing the city’s Black progressive agenda. /THR
ALSO IN TV
The GOT “Jon Snow” series in early development at HBOMAX is reportedly called “Snow” and came together from Kit Harrington himself. /THR
“Hacks” favorite Meg Stalter (the agent’s assistant) gets pilot at HBOMAX for “Church Girls”. Meg also co-writing the story based on her life, about a Christian and closeted lesbian entering adulthood in the OHIO burbs. /THR
HBOMAX adds Paul Giamatti to Season 2 of their Spanish series “30 Coins”. Now shooting. /Deadline
PEACOCK adds Constance Zimmer (“Big Sky”) and Chris Sullivan (“This Is Us”) in recurring roles for David E. Kelley series “The Missing”. About a NYPD Detective guided by his spirituality and religious principles who questions his own humanity after an investigation goes sideways. /Variety
NETFLIX renews “Selling Sunset” for 2 more seasons. /Variety
IN CHAMPIONSHIP SPORTS AUDIENCES
NHL Stanley Cup continues to build on ABC, up another 16% for Game 4 on Wednesday night to 4.6 Million. (Potentially final) Game 5 is tonight 🥅. /TheWrap
US OPEN GOLF final round audience on Sunday was about the same as last year for NBC (-5%) at about 5.4 Million people, but peaking at 9.2 Million for the very close finish.
PEACOCK streaming averaged 148k viewers, but total streaming minutes for the 4 day tournament were +74% vs. last year. /SportsProMedia
📝 IN OTHER WORDS…
SARANDOS does CANNES PT 1
“What we do at first will not be representative of what the product will be ultimately.”
- Indicating that Ad-supported NETFLIX will likely be modest on the Ads at launch and go from there, in order to get it up and running by year’s end.
SARANDOS does CANNES PT 2
“I don’t know where that came from.”
- Addressing the notion that NETFLIX is looking to buy ROKU that… several other analysts have also said makes little sense over the past couple of weeks. Which got my mind going this morning…
A THOUGHT ON ROKU
This whole NETFLIX-ROKU 🤔🤯😂 started when ROKU installed a temporary freeze on employees being able to sell any vested stock grants in early June, which as I mentioned on last week’s Ankler “Hot Seat” podcast can sometimes indicate a pending deal in the ether (hence someone conjuring up the NETLFIX moonshot idea). Although - it can also be instituted for other things.
What hasn’t been mentioned… or I guess rather has been forgotten, is that ROKU has already expressed a very real interest in owning part of STARZ, partnering with private equity firm APOLLO CAPITAL MGMT on an investment bid for as much as 20% of the company back at the start of May according to the WSJ.
ROKU also signed a Pay2 output deal with LIONSGATE at the end of April, where LGF movies will come to the ROKU CHANNEL for a brief window after their first/Pay1 window on STARZ finishes, furthering the ties between the companies.
SINCE THEN: STARZ parent co. LIONSGATE stated very clearly at the end of May on their earnings call, that they expect to either sell or spin-off STARZ by the end of Summer, so perhaps ROKU’s ambitions here have grown since their early May investment offer, and that is the deal on the horizon that triggered the vested stock sale freeze - not NETFLIX. Just a thought.
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
NETFLIX layoffs 2X what originally thought - roughly 300 or almost 3% of workforce
Including the May layoffs, the count stands at about a 5% workforce reduction for NETFLIX from the Spring.
This round is predominantly in the US with 215 employees cut, and seemed centered on the Legal and Product divisions. Although gotta think it’s likely some more info will come out today on who was let go, as not too many specifics out there as of last night.
Additional cuts were global:
53 in EUROPE + MIDDLE EAST
47 in ASIA-PACIFIC and LATAM
With the timing, clearly NETFLIX wanted all of the layoffs on the Q2 books, which only raises anticipation for the Q2 Earnings Call on July 19 to see just how much these severance cost write-offs are, and any statements they may make regarding if any more layoffs lie ahead or if this should do it 🧐.
BUT: Hastings & Sarandos said they do still have plans to grow the employee base by 1500 by end of 2023, although no indication in which areas. /THR
TWITTER sets large SHOPIFY shopping integration
Essentially allows accounts to put links on their TW profiles for to up to 50 items for sale on their SHOPIFY account. Items updated on their SHOPIFY accounts will automatically be updated on their TWITTER Shop Module interface.
Which… if TWITTER gets a small slice of the sales as one would think… could be a nice little revenue extension. /The Verge
ALSO IN MEDIA
DISNEY & LIONSGATE team up to offer a DIS+, STAR+ (aka HULU in LATAM) and STARZPLAY combo offer in select LATAM countries for about $9 to $15 a month depending on the country (BRAZIL, ARGENTINA, CHILE, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, PERU and MEXICO). /THR
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🏦 STOCK NOTES
ROKU +5% ($96.03)
BUZZFEED +6% ($1.75)
SNAP +6% ($13.94)
ALTICE +11% ($9.31)
👩💻 THE FSS FEED:
(new Stuff to Watch this weekend, Friday - Saturday - Sunday)
👓 WEEKEND READS
This NY Times Q&A with Jeff Bridges & John Lithgow on their new FX ON HULU series “The Old Man” (that I really need to make time to watch) was just a delightful chat about finding new friends later in life, and a (rare for Hollywood) chat about the realities of aging as an actor.
🎧 WEEKEND LISTENS
NEW The Ankler “Hot Seat” podcast is going up today, where Richard & Tatiana kindly invited me back on this week to discuss topics including:
And this Peter Kafka RECODE MEDIA pod chat with the very smart Alex Sherman from CNBC on the state of streaming business competition, what’s happening with VICE and some BUZZFEED chat as well. SPOTIFY APPLE
WARNER BROS“Baz Luhrman’s Elvis” - ONLY IN THEATERS
UNI/BLUMHOUSE “The Black Phone” - ONLY IN THEATERS
NETFLIX “The Man From Toronto” - Kev Hart / Woody Harrelson action comedy - STREAM HERE
PEACOCK PREMIUM “Downton Abbey: A New Era” - STREAM HERE
APPLE TV+ “Loot” - Maya Rudolph Comedy series - STREAM HERE
PEACOCK “Would It Kill You To Laugh?” sketch series - No streaming link avail
SHOWTIME “The Chi” new season at 9p
NETFLIX added “Sing 2” this week if you need a family movie night idea (ILLUMINATION and DREAMWORKS animation pics come to NETFLIX not PEACOCK) - STREAM HERE
HBO “Westworld” - Season 4 at 9p
PAR+ “Evil” Season 3
BET Awards at 8p
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
APPLE TV+ “Trying” Season 3 trailer - Another well done piece of marketing from team APPLE. PREMIERES FRI JULY 22
FX “What We Do in the Shadows” Season 4 trailer - PREMIERES TUE JULY 12
NETFLIX “How to Build a Sex Room” trailer - Dipping back into the old HBO “Real Sex” spinoff ideas bin for this one about an interior designer who helps couples… well see title. How HGTV & HBOMAX missed out on this synergy is a mystery… Although there’s always the “Sex Closet” edition for NYC apartments. PREMIERES FRI JULY 8
HULU “Solar Opposites” Season 3 trailer - PREMIERES WED JULY 13
DISNEYFOX “Barbarian” movie trailer - This 2:30 spot alone has about 8 “Don’t go in there girl!” moments so… get ready for a lot of talking at the screen IN THEATERS WED AUGUST 31.
PEACOCK “They/Them” movie teaser - Directorial debut of screenwriter John Logan (“Spectre”, “Penny Dreadful”), a horror pic about teens at an LGBTQ+ conversion camp. PREMIERES FRI AUGUST 5
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
Here’s the brand new TSwift song “Carolina” for SONY’s upcoming “Where the Crawdads Sing” pic. Not exactly a Summer banger per se… but probably fits the movie well.
If you need some new tunes:
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