FRI: DISNEY+ OBI-WAN show adds Pen15 star
Scorsese producing NYC Gershwin movie / Weekend New Movie & TV preview / ER cast reunites & new SNAPCHAT user #s
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on FRIDAY April 23, 2021.
Where I’m sure this newsletter would be much better if I was writing this from Rihanna’s house. For many reasons.
She dropped $10 Million last month on the house next door to the one she bought for over $13 Million a few months ago in Beverly Hills. Nothing like a gym with a view… though really I’m totally fine just staying in that guest house. Which is bigger than my apartment.
And here’s your INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD winners if of interest. All of whom have a better chance of ever being at Rihanna’s house than I do.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
Scorcese producing Gershwin-inspired movie in NYC, directed by John Carney (“Once”, AMAZON’s “Modern Love”)
Named after famous George Gershwin song “Fascinating Rhythm”, will incorporate Gershwin’s music and center on a young woman’s journey through past and present NYC. Hopefully they skip 2020.
Gershwin’s estate involved, Irwin Winkler also a producer, ENDEAVOR CONTENT repping project in the sale process to APPL… er I mean potential buyers. /Variety
DISNEY sets Justin Simien (“Dear White People”) to direct their new “Haunted Mansion” movie
Was also a 2003 Eddie Murphy family film… but this will likely be a different take on the famous theme park… ride (🤷♂️).
Katie Dippold (“The Heat”, 2016’s “Ghostbusters”) wrote the script, no production timeline given. /Variety
ALSO IN MOVIES
DISNEY adapting “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” Broadway show into a live-action movie. Producers of “Aladdin” movie behind it (Dan Lin & Jonathan Eirich). /THR
WB sets Adria Arjona (“6 Underground”, upcoming MARVEL movie “Morbius”) as the daughter in their Andy Garcia led “Father of the Bride” remake. /THR
PRODUCERS GUILD forming “task force” to examine bullying and harassment in its membership, as reaction to the Scott Rudin scandal. To note - he is still a Guild member, but presumably… will not be invited onto this task force. /Variety
📺 THE TV SET
DISNEY+ adds Maya Erskine (“Pen15”) to STAR WARS “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series
No character details disclosed. of course. And if you haven’t seen “Pen15” and like your comedy with a side of awkward, can’t recommend the show high enough (link here on HULU). Ok that wasn’t meant as a pun on the gif but I’m goin with it. /Deadline
NETFLIX orders docuseries on NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace
Currently shooting, no episode count or price indicated. Bubba is still NASCAR’s only Black driver. /Variety
ALSO IN TV
HBOMAX orders 6 episode Lisa Ling hosted docuseries “Take Out” focusing on the people behind America’s Asian food joints. /Variety
NETFLIX doing reality show with social media influencer collective HYPE HOUSE. Currently shooting, no episode count indicated. /Variety
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
SNAPCHAT hits 280 Million Daily Active Users (DAU) globally
Up 6% since Feb (+15 Million users), +22% from one year ago, which is an even slightly higher growth rate than they had back then.
25 “Discover” channels now have monthly audiences over 20 Million viewers each (did not define what a viewer means in terms of engagement/time spent watching, or which channels they were so… thanks SNAP).
Their TIKTOK ripoff feature “Spotlight” has 125 Million Monthly Active Users (MAUs), that’s +25 Million users from February. /Variety
For reference, Global DAUs
REDDIT: 50 Million (end 2020)
TWITTER: 192 Million (Feb 2021)
SNAP: 280 Million
FACEBOOK: 1.84 Billion (Feb 2021)
NOTE: couldn’t find any of this data reported for INSTA, TIKTOK or PINTEREST
High School Sports media brand OVERTIME gets $80 Million in new funding from Drake, Jeff Bezos, 25 NBA Players
Among other plans, they are starting a High School basketball league where they’ll pay about 30 kids at least $100,000 each, and will also provide classes to work toward a HS diploma. Set to launch this Fall. Yeah I see that going over real well. /Variety
ALSO IN MEDIA
HBOMAX subscriber brief follow up - Of the 44.2 Million total US subscribers, 9.7 Million (22%) are HBOMAX only (ie. not also HBO TV subs). /Variety
HBOMAX had $1.8 Billion in revenue from Jan-March; NETFLIX had $7.1 Billion.
DIRECTV and U-VERSE lost 620k subscribers in the first 3 months of 2021. (AT&T is in the process of spinning off this business at a huge write-down).
AT&T as a company now has 15.9 Million TV subscribers: approx 13 Million DIRECTV and 3 Million U-Verse. That’s -15% from this time last year.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO is the latest network to do an additional sports broadcast/simulcast focused solely on gambling. Will be for a BULLS game and air on their NBC SPORTS CHICAGO PLUS channel. /B&C
Forget green slime imposed on NFL end zones - the future for multi-casts of professional sports games will be about betting, not trying to make a sport appealing to people who don’t usually watch sports (NICKELODEON tie-ins etc).
Gotta think AMAZON will dive into this head first ASAP and truly lead the way in online betting integration with their THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL games. And just wait for when you can make sports bets with Bitcoin. 🤯
NY COMIC CON returning this October 7-10, will be limited TBD capacity at the Javitz Center, with a… well let’s face it, redundant mask requirement. /CNBC
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
AT&T had one of its biggest one day increases since… well, a long while. I’m not Charles Schwab. Up a whole 4% on the HBOMAX subscriber number news.
TWITTER down 4.5%. Just one of those days.
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
WB / HBOMAX “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” movie trailer. Apparently the devil is back… and is making people do things. Admittedly I probably should have watched this before posting it. Hits theaters and HBOMAX on Fri June 4
AMC “Kevin Can F*ck Himself” promo. First 2 episodes hit AMC+ on Sun June 13 and AMC… The Channel on Sun June 20.
📰 WEEKEND READS
Chances are you saw this, but just in case: ENDEAVOR head Ari Emanuel got the in-depth NEW YORKER treatment which is always a cracking read, especially as he prepares to take the company public, again, and become about $450 Million richer. So take a gander here.
VULTURE talked to 33 former assistants to producer Scott Rudin. The sheer tonnage of items thrown alone is mind blowing.
If you’re curious to the backstory of how the Euro Soccer SUPER LEAGUE came together, was announced and collapsed in a colossal manner - the NY TIMES did the journalism for ya.
And ok this isn’t a read… but was actually a really fun watch/hang last night - a pretty complete “E/R” reunion with Clooney enjoying a nice glass of (presumably his own) tequila.
👩💻 THE FSS FEED:
(new Stuff to Watch this weekend)
First - a CORRECTION from Yesterday: PEACOCK is only making the first 3 episodes of the Ed Helms comedy “Rutherford Falls” available for free users. Someone 🙋♂️ neglected to scroll down further in his PEACOCK app yesterday morning when writing his email 😬. But again - link to watch or add to your list here. Now, on with the countdown…
WB ”Mortal Kombat” - Hits movie theaters or stay home and watch it here on HBOMAX.
BLEECKER STREET “Together Together” - Ed Helms “single guy looking to become a father with a surrogate” Sundance dramedy hits select theaters.
“Demon Slayer: Mugen Train”, Japan’s animated hit and highest grossing movie ever, pandemic or not, hits US movie theaters.
MEANWHILE IN CHINA: They have “LOTR: The Two Towers”. Hopefully they don’t screw up this rollout like they did last weekend with the “Fellowship”.
NETFLIX “Shadow and Bone” - Fantasy series based on books. Watch or add to your list here
DISNEY+ “Falcon & the Winter Soldier” - finale drops today.
NETFLIX “Stowaway” - Toni Collette, Anna Kendrick and Daniel Dae Kim as 3 astronauts who discover… that they have an unexpected 4th passenger (Shamier Anderson) on their trip to Mars. Problem is - they only packed for 3 😲. Watch or add to your list here
DISCOVERY+ “Magnolia Network: A Look Ahead Vol. 2” - get a preview of 4 newly announced series that will drop during the July MAGNOLIA launch on the streaming service. (DISCOVERY+ still doesn’t do the Google-searchable link thing. ahem).
HBO “A Black Lady Sketch Show” Season 2 - Premieres at 11p
SNL is off so get started on writing your own Update jokes.
Place your bets now for… how many people watch THE OSCARS on ABC at 8p. Pre-show including Best Song performances begins at 630p.
While I’m personally really psyched to see what Soderbergh & the team do with show this year… these numbers below (granted from a small sample) about film awareness in Ryan Faughner’s LA TIMES column “The Wide Shot” are not promising.
Trust me - they get far worse for the other 3. While it’s an amazingly diverse, high quality set of films in many regards, it feels a bit like having Jacksonville playing Carolina in a SUPER BOWL. (for you non-sporting folk - just know it’d be the NFL’s biggest nightmare).
It’s also hard to see many… if any strong “rooting for” or “tight race” narratives this year which are key to drawing in enough casual viewers to even come close to matching last year’s OK (😬) 23 Million viewer audience size - even if it was going to be a traditional show, held in Feb this year. And - even in the instances where you can make a case for a tight race, it’s for films the overwhelming majority of America simply has not seen or heard of (see above).
Tack on the alarming award show ratings trends this year:
GOLDEN GLOBES: down over 60%
GRAMMYS: down over 50%
SAG AWARDS: Under 1 Million viewers
and well, let’s just enjoy the show shall we? HOLLYWOOD does love a good comeback story. And ABC loves $2 Million for a 30-second ad either way.
🙋♂️ MY ONE FRIDAY ASK
Speaking of small audience sizes - if you like THE WAKEUP, Share it with your work team, or just someone you talk pop culture with who may dig it:
🕵️♂️ THE WEEK AHEAD
TUE - GOOGLE, MICROSOFT, PINTEREST kickoff a big week of earnings reports after the bell
WED - President Biden’s first address to Congress, “The Handmaid’s Tale” returns to HULU, and the MY PILLOW guy sits, or I guess lays down with Jimmy Kimmel for a chat
Also SPOTIFY, SIRIUSXM, and DISCOVERY report earnings (DISC+ subscriber # report 👋). Plus APPLE, FACEBOOK report after the bell.
THU - NFL DRAFT begins
IMAX, MEREDITH, COMCAST (new PEACOCK #s…of sorts) in the Morning, AMAZON, TWITTER after the bell.
FRI - Watch Michael B Jordan kick ass for 2 hours in “Without Remorse” on AMAZON
Or the important…but far less exciting CHARTER earnings call.
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
This one goes out to Shock G, head of DIGITAL UNDERGOUND and a huge figure in 90’s hip-hop overall who died yesterday in a hotel room in Tampa at the age of 57.
Go with the classic below or a bit of a deeper cut: “Same Song” here with 2Pac.
Have a fine weekend ya’ll and Email me anytime - just hit Reply to this email or click my name to connect on LINKED IN.