ALL EYES ON 'WONDER WOMAN 1984' AS DISNEY PUSHES ‘DEATH ON THE NILE’, ‘FREE GUY’ OUT OF 2020
Updated: Feb 25
WEEKLY FILM INDUSTRY NEWS DIGEST, UPDATED MONDAY NOVEMBER 09
All eyes on ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ as Disney pushes ‘Death On The Nile’, ‘Free Guy’ out of 2020
As the pandemic surges across the United States and western European leaders impose strict measures heading into winter – a month-long lockdown started in the UK on Thursday – insiders expect Warner Bros to push Wonder Woman 1984 and Universal to do the same on Tom Hanks western News Of The World. Both are currently set for December 25.
Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Coming to Home Entertainment in December (U.S.)
Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” will finally be available the way the filmmaker decidedly does not want you to see it — at home.The sci-fi epic, which stars John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, is debuting on 4K, Blu-Ray, DVD and digital rental services starting on Dec. 15. ..“Tenet” will be available for pre-order beginning on Nov. 10.
Starz Hits 9.2 Million Domestic Streaming Subscribers
The premium cable and streaming channel added a record 1.8 million streaming subscribers in the U.S. during the latest quarter to get to 9.2 million streaming customers domestically. The studio added 2.3 million Starz streaming customers in international markets, including for STARZPLAY Arabia the Pantaya Spanish language platform, to get to 13.7 million subscribers overall.
"Our best of global SVOD content strategy is resonating with consumers while our partnerships with top global streaming platforms and local distributors are creating exciting new bundling opportunities," Feltheimer told analysts. He forecast Starz would reach the top end of a forecast of 13 million to 15 million global streaming subscribers by the end of fiscal 2021.
Joe Drake, CEO of the Motion Picture Group (Lionsgate): "The new windows that people are talking about are only accelerating and that has created real distribution opportunities for us... The windows will continue to evolve and we just see a ton of opportunity moving forward in our business," Drake told analysts.
He also revealed the Hollywood studio would be opportunistic in whether it released movies theatrically, via premium video-on-demand or on streaming platforms. "What we're seeing is that monetizing in these new windows, whether it is leading with theatrical, whether its theatrical and PVOD combined or whether you go direct to consumer or other ways of exploiting, the values are there for us to go and monetize," Drake argued.
The cuts are understood to be around 15 percent of an overall film group workforce of around 450 employees. Besides the current coronavirus pandemic accelerating the need for a streamlining of the film group, the shift to streaming viewership has also brought about the job losses.
Roku Continues to Benefit From Pandemic-led Shift to Streaming
Roku grew its active account base to 46 million as it continued to see a streaming boom during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The company, which makes streaming devices and smart TVs, has added 13.7 million active accounts in the last year. That growth helped drive a 54 percent year-over-year increase in streaming on its devices, which hit 14.8 billion hours during the third quarter.
Net revenue for the period grew 73 percent to nearly $452 million, led by at 78 percent growth in platform revenue, which primarily comes from advertising…Roku struck an agreement with NBCUniversal to carry its Peacock streaming service during the period after a several month stalemate. Roku acknowledged the deal in its shareholder letter, calling it "a mutually beneficial agreement" for both companies.
Cinemark (third largest US cinema chain) Embraces "Dynamic" Theatrical Windows
CEO Mark Zoradion on a morning analyst call discussed ongoing negotiations with the major Hollywood studios about shortening the theatrical window, an industry term for the length of time a film screens exclusively in theaters. But he showed no support for the reduced 17-day theatrical window that fellow exhibitor AMC Theatres and Universal Pictures struck in their own agreement. He instead championed the concept of "dynamic theatrical windows," where tentpoles get longer movie theater runs than mid-range budget films. "It allows a studio to monetize a movie quicker, because it won't be in theaters as long," Zoradi told analysts. He wouldn't be drawn on whether dynamic windows would resemble the landmark deal between AMC Theatres and NBCUniversal, under which Cinemark is expected to get a share of downstream revenue and allow exhibitor and studio partners to row in the same direction.
The Cinemark boss would not be specific about how many days he would accept for a shortened theatrical window as he championed the concept of dynamic theatrical windows. Another wild card for Cinemark is streaming platforms, which are benefiting as traditional movie-goers shelter at home amid the pandemic. Zoradi said his circuit would be open to playing streaming movies as Netflix and other digital platforms bring their films to the big screen on a case-by-case basis. "We're open to having discussions. It will always come down to the rental terms and the number of days of the exclusive release," he told analysts as he pointed to necessary terms and conditions.
U.S. and Brazil Stage Unprecedented Joint Crackdown on Online Content Pirates
In an unprecedented joint operation, U.S. and Brazilian law enforcement teams cracked down on pirate online services and apps that illegally reproduced and distributed copyrighted content from U.S. media companies to Brazilian customers. Three U.S.-based domain names were shut down while the Brazilian-led takedown…these piracy services had hundreds of thousands of subscribers who paid an average of $70 a year each through which they had access to live TV channels, live sports programs and all the popular streaming content, among others.
Discovery Plans to Unveil Details of New Streaming Service in Early December
Discovery Chairman and CEO David Zaslav indicated he would discuss content, distribution and other basics of the effort, which would vie with rivals that typically place more reliance on scripted miniseries and movies. Discovery’s new service, Zaslav hinted, would bring to bear the company’s full library of content, which is largely stocked with unscripted programs devoted to lifestyle topics such as cooking, nature and cars.
Andy Samberg’s ‘Palm Springs’ to Debut on Amazon in Key International Markets
Romantic comedy “Palm Springs,” starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Netherlands, France and the U.K. Australia and New Zealand will be the first to debut the film, on Nov. 20, followed by Canada on Dec. 18. The film will stream in the Netherlands, France and the U.K. in early 2021.
Crunchyroll’s Joanne Waage Says Anime Is Still Growing in Intl. Markets
Joanne Waage, GM of specialty streaming platform Crunchyroll, says that anime is becoming more popular. Speaking at TIFFCOM, she said it is becoming a global phenomenon, built around an essentially Japanese product. The company, Waage said, has focused on expanding beyond core fans to viewers not familiar with the anime medium. Celebrities, including rapper Megan Thee Stallion, who has partnered with Crunchyroll to release an anime-inspired streetwear collection, have played a major role. “She’s been fantastic about celebrating her love of anime with her fans,” Waage said.
The company now has more than three million subscribers and nearly 70 million registered users. Through the Warner connection, Crunchyroll has become corporate allies with Cartoon Network and its Adult Swim programming block. Yet another important partner is HBO Max, which now offers a curated collection of Crunchroll content. “Having anime together with HBO’s big titles – that’s been huge,” Waage said.
Canada Broadcast Act Update Would Require & Codify Big Streamers’ Investment In Local Content
Canada has proposed an amendment to its national Broadcasting Act to require streaming services from Netflix and Disney+ to Amazon and Spotify to invest a portion of revenue in local production.Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, tabled the bill yesterday. It establishes a new class of players called “online undertakings” including U.S.-based streaming platforms operating in the country that would be required to contribute to the local industry alongside Canadian broadcasters, which are already required to do so under current broadcast law.
A government briefing note cited by the CBC said that if the law applied the same requirements around Canadian content to streamers that it applies to broadcasters, online platforms could contribute as much as $830 million worth of Canadian content by 2023...In 2017, Netflix established Netflix Canada to invest a minimum of CAD $500 million in original productions in the country over five years under the Investment Canada Act.
Tokyo: Paramount's Jim Gianopulos Says Box Office Recovery in Japan, China Proves "Audiences Want to Return to Theaters"
Paramount Pictures chairman Jim Gianopulos delivered a keynote address to Tokyo's TIFFCOM content market Wednesday, offering a detailed recap of how COVID-19 has reshaped the movie business in 2020.Gianopulos added that "the news isn't all bad," highlighting how studios have been able to offset some theatrical losses by increasing sales and content allocations to streaming platforms, which have capitalized on record consumer demand for film and TV content within the home.
While Disney has moved top theatrical titles like Hamilton and Mulan to Disney+, Paramount has made lucrative sales of titles like The Lovebirds and The Trial of the Chicago 7 to Netflix, and Without Remorse and Coming to America 2 to Amazon Prime. "These moves and others have sustained us, as content creators, during a difficult time for the industry," he said.
Digital catalog sales, have increased 55 percent for the film sector compared to the same period in 2019, according to Gianopulos. He added that "Paramount has done even better, improving 84 percent."As Paramount "eagerly looks forward to the return to theaters," Gianopulos said the studio is taking solace in trends on evidence in Asia. He observed that in some parts of the world, the great theatrical rebound "has already started." Summing up the results, Gianopulos said the East Asian market rebound "clearly demonstrates that audiences want to return to theaters."He added: "The truth is, as much as the experience of watching movies at home has improved in recent years, there's no replacing the thrill of watching your favorite movie stars on the big screen with booming sound and a bucket of fresh popcorn on your lap."