FAST & FURIOUS 10 director leaves after 1st week of shooting
TNT & TBS scripted future put on pause / YOUTUBE revenue stalls / JJ Abrams sets lead for HBOMAX series
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on WEDNESDAY April 27, 2022.
Where David Zaslav wins today’s reading the room award, reportedly shifting WARNER MEDIA from the current optional Return to Office policy to… you’re back in the office 2 days a week. Starting next week. 🤯 Any WBD folks with more color or additional info on this, by all means let me know.
They’ll apparently bump up to 3 days a week starting in June (which is how DISCOVERY is already operating), but yeah… funny how this didn’t come up during his “meet and greet” tour in person with employees earlier this month.
Ya know. When they could have had more than 5 days to prepare.
AND: I hope you have a swell Wednesday! Hey I’m not all business all the time.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
UNIVERSAL releasing “Wicked” in 2 parts
Now coming to you Christmas 2024 and Christmas 2025. Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo starring, Jon M. Chu (“In the Heights”, “Crazy Rich Asians”) directing. /Deadline
Director Justin Lin departs “Fast X” less than a week into shooting the movie
He didn’t cite any reason in his statement, although DEADLINE said it was a “creative” matter not a personal one. On a movie he co-wrote… and is a producer on. 🤔
While they find a replacement director, the movie will shoot 2nd unit in the meanwhile which… on a movie like that is probably half of the shot list.
Justin has directed 5 of the 9 movies, and presumably will not direct the 11th and vinal installment as planned either. Wait did my brain subliminally type vin-al? That’s strange.
ALSO IN MOVIES
Robert Pattinson & director Matt Reeves are reuniting for “The Batman” sequel, but no other details announced 🦇. /THR
NETFLIX will drop the $200 Million Gosling-Evans-Russo Bros spy action pic “The Gray Man” on Fri July 15 in theaters, July 22 on NETFLIX. /Deadline
Chloe Bailey (“black-ish”) starring in UNI pic called “Praise This”, produced by Will Packer - basically “Pitch Perfect” but among youth choirs. Tina Gordon (“Little”) is directing. /Deadline
IFC FILMS sets streaming output deal with sister-co AMC+. Films will hit the streamer 90 days after theatrical/PVOD release, begins next Friday. /Deadline
CANNES Jury includes Rebecca Hall, Jeff Nichols, Noomi Rapace and Joachim Trier. French actor Vincent Lindon (“Titane”) is the prez of the jury. /THR
If you find THE WAKEUP useful…
Share it with a friend or your work team here:
📺 THE TV SET
HBO The Weeknd series “The Idol” director Amy Seimetz departs the show
“The Girlfriend Experience” co-creator Seimetz was to direct all 6 episodes… but now series co-creator Sam Levinsohn (“Euphoria”) will likely hop behind the camera a bit (tbd). /Deadline
HBOMAX sets Danielle Deadwyler to star in new JJ Abrams series “Demimonde”
She was most recently in “Station Eleven” but had roles in “Watchmen” and “Atlanta” as well.
JJ is writing & directing the show, about a woman torn away from her husband and daughter in a brutal scientific accident when they’re sent to another world, and she has to figure out a conspiracy in order to find / reunite with them. /THR
TBS ends Damon Wayans Jr. comedy “Kill the Orange-Faced Bear” before it starts, freezes overall development
The 10 episode comedy was to begin rolling next week in Canada but looks like the ‘new management’ at WARNER DISCO put the kibosh on it. /Deadline
TNT and TBS are now under the purview of DISCOVERY unscripted head Kathleen Finch and while it seems current shows will still operate BAU… it looks like their scripted future is certainly coming under scrutiny, as VARIETY reports TNT & TBS scripted development has been frozen for the time being.
Gotta start finding those $3 Billion in cost savings somewhere… #Sports&RerunsFuture
ALSO IN TV
PEACOCK adds Adrien Brody to Natasha Lyonne “Poker Face” detective series from Rian Johnson (“Knives Out”). Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Benjamin Bratt already on board. /Deadline
FREEFORM renews “Single Drunk Female” for Season 2, and orders dramedy series “While You Were Breeding” about a 30-something woman, now single for the first time in her adult life who escapes life in L.A. to see the world, based on a book. /THR
PEACOCK orders Season 2 of “Wolf Like Me” starring Josh Gad & Isla Fischer. /Deadline
NETFLIX cancels “Raising Dion” after 2 seasons. /Deadline
IN OTHER WORDS
“If I have to, I will take this all the way to the Supreme Court”
- JERRY WEST giving a quote in the LA TIMES yesterday that anyone watching HBO’s “Winning Time” would probably agree couldn’t be more ‘Jerry West’. I heard Jason Clarke
screamingsaying it in my ear immediately.
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
#medianerd back in full force
SPOTIFY has solid Q1 growth, now at 422 Million monthly active users
Forget video streaming - an audio streaming service will be the first company to reach half a billion streaming accounts, much less the “mythical Billion” that… keeps getting touted as being a reality within reach by (former) video execs for some reason #NotHelping.
Granted - only 43% of SPOTIFY’s 422 Million users actually pay for it, and free “ad-supported” account growth is still greater.
PREMIUM (paying subs): 182 Million
+15% Year over Year
Note: this is +2 Million from Jan thru March, slightly below guidance but reflects a loss of 1.5 Million in RUSSIA
FREELOADERS: 252 Million
+21% Year over Year
Had impressive growth at 23% vs last year, at $2.66 Billion. But… pretty much all of that money still goes to record labels:
SUBSCRIPTION (ie most $$ goes to labels): $2.3 Billion
ADVERTISING (ie money that SPOT can keep): $282 Million
SPOTIFY Operating Income (profitability) was… -$6 Million in Q1 on that $2.66 Billion of revenue, and I still have no idea how this company will ever become significantly profitable. To be fair they are cash flow positive, but again, to a small degree ($37 Million).
Granted the Ad $$ is +31% from a year ago… but clearly it’s still not enough to make the company a profitable machine in a meaningful or even consistent basis. Something that hasn’t changed since it had half of the subscriber base it has now.
And Podcasting is clearly nowhere near the answer here, more than 2 years into their push into the format.
But at least their user base is relatively evenly distributed, unlike almost every other streaming service outside of NETFLIX:
NORTH AMERICA: 23%
EVERYWHERE ELSE: 22%
However: 68% of Paying subscribers are in Europe or North America.
How will this be received? Well that market is often just as concerned with “what’s ahead” than with “what happened”… and they’re projecting an Operating loss of over $200 Million for Q2, and the subscriber losses from the exit from RUSSIA will still extend into Q2, but otherwise they’re optimistic.
YOUTUBE Q1 revenue growth stalls, comes in at $6.9 Billion
That’s +14% from Q1 2021… but the projection was for $7.4 Billion.
And the $6.9 Billion is down from $8.6 Billion in Q4, where YT beat NETFLIX in revenue for the first quarter ever.
Not so much this time - NETFLIX beat them by $1 Billion in Q1 #humblebrag. YT cited a decrease in direct-response advertising, and advertiser spend pullback in EUROPE due to the war in UKRAINE as causes here.
And some stats:
YT reached 135 million people on Connected TVs in Dec globally
YT has 2 Billion logged-in viewers watch someting every month
At parent company GOOGLE
Yeah they made almost $17 Billion in profit in 3 months. Which was actually considered not great. Overall Revenue was $68 Billion, 57% is from GOOGLE Search revenue alone.
But given the miss on projections, the stock was trading down about 3% last night, and #funfact all stock gains over the past 12 months have basically been erased. 🥸
And #funfact2 - GOOGLE literally has a line called “Other Bets” on their financial reporting. Sadly they would have done better at Belmont (they lost $1.1 Billion on said “bets” in Q1). 🐎
COMCAST & CHARTER cable companies team up to launch a Connected TV & Streaming devices JV
These are the 2 largest cable companies in the US (roughly half of all Cable TV subscribers, and well over 60 Million broadband subscribers), and this is essentially a (very late) challenge to connected TV & streaming device makers (VIZIO, SAMSUNG, ROKU, AMAZON etc)
The JointVenture (JV) company here will sell 4K Streaming box & stick devices, plus COMCAST XCLASS TV line, all of which are run on COMCAST’s FLEX platform.
Think - ROKU TV’s & streaming boxes… but instead powered by COMCAST’s FLEX platform which is what COMCAST gives to a good deal of their broadband subscribers.
It’ll use COMCAST’s XUMO free streaming service (a distant competitor to TUBI, PLUTO and ROKU CHANNEL) to power the free streaming channels offered.
And yes PEACOCK will have a promient placement as well.
While COMCAST is contributing the FLEX tech, the streaming device hardware expertise, and XUMO… CHARTER is contributing cold hard cash to the tune of $900 Million.
CHARTER will also begin offering the XCLASS TV’s and Streaming device products to their customers next year. COMCAST will still pretty much keep with its FLEX products & platform offering for their customers/biz as usual.
And then you’ll also be able to buy XCLASS TV’s and Streaming devices at TBD national retailers (BEST BUY etc) soon as well. /Deadline
ALSO IN MEDIA
ROKU sets exclusive multi-year “Pay2” window with LIONSGATE. Starting with this year’s LGF releases, they’ll stream for free on ROKU CHANNEL once they finish their PayTV run on STARZ (generally starting about 2 years from theatrical release date).
ROKU will also get a 2nd non-exclusive window at some point after their initial Pay2 window closes. /THR
Small follow-up from yesterday: The $100 Million private equity investment in Kev Hart’s HARTBEAT production company was for a 15% stake, and puts a $650 Million valuation on Kev’s company. Kev goes from CEO to Chairman, and COO Thai Randolph is the new CEO of the company. /NY Times
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
ROKU -9% ($91.76)
AMC THEATERS -8% ($15.50)
ROBLOX -8% ($31.76)
WARNER DISCO -8% ($19.83)
PARAMOUNT -6% ($29.37)
NETFLIX -5% ($198.40)
CINEWORLD (REGAL Cinemas) -5% ($0.37)
AMC NETWORKS -5% ($34.00)
If you don’t already get THE WAKEUP, sign up here:
Hits your inbox weekdays by 830a (ish) East Coast time
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
HBO “The Survivor” - Ben Foster post-WWII boxer pic directed by Barry Levinson that had the really good trailer, Premieres at 8p
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
HBOMAX “Hacks” Season 2 trailer - Whatever licensing $$ HBOMAX marketing had to pay Elton John for “Bitch is Back” was definitely worth it. Great spot! 👏. Premieres Fri May 13
A24 “Bodies Bodies Bodies” movie trailer - Ok this has one of the best trailer end-codas I’ve seen in a while. And yes it involves Pete. Big 🙌 to the trailer editor! In Theaters Aug 5
APPLE TV+“The Essex Serpent” limited series trailer - Hiddleston + Danes period British countryside mystery-romance joint. Premieres Fri May 13
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
In case “Hacks” put anyone else in the mood to hear this song in full, let’s go with Sir Elton. Btw Elton - HBOMAX said they’d pick up any marketing fees for this usage.💰
If you need some new tunes:
Email me anytime - just Reply to this email, or connect here on LINKED IN.
@theseanmac on TWITTER
@TheWakeupNews on INSTAGRAM