STX movie studio sold for 2nd time in 2 years
UNI picks up Ferrell, Foxx, Forte movie / 2022 looks even worse for cord cutting / MAGIC MIKE 3 adds cast
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on WEDNESDAY December 8, 2021.
Where is it just me… or is it super fun to see “Rebecca” from “Ted Lasso” (aka Hannah Waddingham) belt out a tune? This is just a brief clip from the NBC Bublé Christmas special on Monday night (sadly NBC / PEACOCK didn’t put any full songs from the show online 🙄, although you can stream the special here on PEACOCK Premium), but I really hope she pops up more in these kinds of things - such a great voice. #bigfan #letitgo
ALSO: John Mulaney announced his Spring comedy tour “From Scratch”, starting in March. Pre-sale fan club tickets are on-sale now here, and everyone can buy on Friday.
AND: If you missed the live “Facts of Life” uhh redo (?) last night on ABC, it was pretty awesome. Big 👏 to Ann Dowd for her amazing “Mrs Garrett”, and Will Arnett & Jason Bateman had pretty great surprise cameos too. You can watch it here on HULU.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
UNIVERSAL picks up Ferrell, Foxx and Forte led live-action / CGI movie “Strays”
Adult-skewing pic is directed by Josh Greenbaum (“Barb & Star go to Vista Del Mar”).
Ferrell and Foxx play dogs who team up to get revenge on Ferrell’s a-hole owner, played by Forte. Film was already shot this year, and is in the extensive post-production process, but no release date indicated. /THR
APPLE TV+ confirms deal for THERANOS Elizabeth Holmes movie from Adam McKay, starring J-Law
Called “Bad Blood”, based on a book with the same title. McKay is writing in addition to directing. /Deadline
ALSO IN MOVIES
HBOMAX adding Thandiwe Newton to “Magic Mike” part 3. Role not disclosed, but she’s the first casting so far outside of Channing. /THR
📺 THE TV SET
Lotta TV series renewals
“The Sex Lives of College Girls” gets a Season 2 at HBOMAX. /THR
“Power Book II: Ghost” gets a Season 3 at STARZ. Will have a new showrunner as “Power” creator Courtney A. Kemp peace’d out to NETFLIX. /THR
“Outer Banks” gets a Season 3 at NETFLIX. /THR
“Truth Be Told” gets a Season 3 at APPLE TV+. /Deadline
Michael Shannon joins Jessica Chastain in “George & Tammy” SPECTRUM / PAR+ limited series
6 episodes on Country Music royalty, will debut on SPECTRUM OnDemand, then hit PAR+ and PARAMOUNT NETWORK 9 months after that.
Begins shooting this week. /Deadline
ALSO IN TV
HBO and CHANNEL 4 order six episode JAMAICA-set crime drama “Get Millie Back” from Man Booker Award-winning author Marlon James. /Deadline
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
warning - #MediaNerd 🤓 is back
INDIA based EROS sells STX Movie Studio to something called NAJAFI COMPANIES for $173 Million
The debt-ridden and stock price-challenged EROS has been looking to offload STX (“Hustlers”, “Greenland”) for at least the past 6 months. A company it just acquired less than 2 years ago.
NAJAFI is a Phoenix-based private equity firm with “holdings in consumer, media, talent-driven brands, e-commerce, tech and sports”, so… if you know what that means, godspeed. The company’s head Jahm Najafi is also the vice chairman of the PHOENIX SUNS fwiw.
STX / NAJAFI also needs to repay $143 Million in debt payments to EROS as part of the deal in addition to the sale price. Thus…
NAJAFI has also partnered with THE FOREST ROAD COMPANY in the deal - they’re lending NAJAFI the cash to repay STX’s debt and give working capital for STX in the future, but is not listed as a new “owner” of the company.
FOREST ROAD is an entertainment financing company whose co-CEOs are… former DISNEY streaming head Kevin Mayer, and longtime DISNEY exec Tom Staggs - the same guys who bought Reese Witherspoon’s HELLO SUNSHINE and the company behind “Cocomelon” with their… other company, backed by BLACKSTONE (this STX deal seems to be entirely unrelated. for now).
What all this means… is a bit of a 🧐. No word if STX head Robert Simonds is gonna stay with the company or not… or what happens to STX’s library… or if the studio will continue to exist as a going concern making movies.
Looking ahead, they have:
The JK Simmons / Stephan James college football movie “National Champions” out this Friday
A Chris Pine / Ben Foster international action pic “The Contractor” set for March.
Their last release was the Kristen Bell / Vince Vaughn comedy “Queenpins” in Sept, which they sold the immediate streaming rights to PAR+ for a quick $20 Million check.
TO NOTE: There is a 45-day window for EROS find a better offer before it closes. /Deadline & /THR
The SOUTH KOREAN company that just bought 80% of ENDEAVOR CONTENT is now partnering with VIACOM to launch PARAMOUNT+ in that country
The company is CJ ENM (was a producer of “Parasite”), they also co-run a SOUTH KOREAN streaming service called TVing.
It sounds like PARAMOUNT+ will launch as either a separate premium add-on service ($$) for TVing subscribers in TBD 2022… or it’ll be included with the TVing subscription price instead (it was not clear).
TVing is estimated to have about 3.5 Million subscribers (slightly behind NETFLIX there), paying about $7 a month for it.
CJ ENM & VIACOM also made a deal to produce original SOUTH KOREAN series & movies for PAR+ (#SquidGameEffect) and 1 theatrical release a year, and to license VIACOM content for the TVing service as well.
VIACOM’s free streaming service PLUTO will also launch a CJ ENM channel with Korean programming. /Variety
VIACOM CEO Bob Bakish also indicated that Q4 streaming subscriber growth will be impressive. But no specifics indicated #thanksBob. They added 4 Million total paid streaming subscribers in Q3 across all brands (PAR+, BET+, SHOWTIME, etc) to hit 47 Million globally.
But VIACOMCBS Ad revenue will take a bit of a hit in Q4 due to supply-chain related pullbacks from advertisers (fewer things to sell = lesser need to spend Ad $$)… but Bob says Ad money will still be up from Q4 last year. /THR
Cable company FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS offering YOUTUBE TV bundle deal to their 2.8 Million Broadband subscribers
FRONTIER is roughly the 6th or 7th biggest Cable company in the US (depending on your metrics), and while they haven’t abandoned offering their own CableTV bundle to customers… they only have 400k CableTV customers left in their footprint, vs those 2.8 Mil Broadband folks.
So, one could see a scenario where FRONTIER becomes the first relatively big system to join the trend of smaller “Cable Companies” dropping CableTV service from their offerings because the profit margins and headaches have become that bad… and just become a pure Broadband provider that also offers deals to add on a TV channel bundle thru services like YOUTUBE TV or HULU + LIVE TV.
For the record the FRONTIER Broadband customer deal is 1 year of YOUTUBE TV at $55/month ($10 off).
Also for the record FRONTIER went bankrupt last year, and re-emerged this year a slimmed down company after shedding the debt they owed (ie leaving its credtiors holding the bag). /NextTV
ALTICE’s CEO is already warning of higher video subscriber losses in 2022. This year ain’t so great either, expecting to lose about 230k to end the year at around 2.7 Million - a loss of about 8% of its Cable TV subscriber base. So 2022 should go up a notch. Or, well down really. /THR
This pertains to Broadband but COMCAST is going to miss their Q4 Internet service subscriber growth estimates. Will add 1.3 Million for 2021, down from the 2020 pandemic boom of 2 million and missing previous forecasts from earlier this year. /THR
ALSO IN MEDIA
The TECH TRANSPARENCY PROJECT releases INSTAGRAM investigation, showing that INSTA "allows teen users as young as 13 to find potentially deadly drugs for sale in just two clicks." And then recommends other drug dealers for them to follow. Adam Mosseri’s gonna have a fun day on Capitol Hill.
META offices will re-open in Feb… but folks can come back anytime until June. /WSJ
First TV, then Radio… and now Chris Cuomo’s book deal is gone. HARPER COLLINS has cancelled his book, called “Deep Denial”. No that’s not a joke… ah wait - I get it. /THR
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
BUZZFEED down another 8% on Day 2 ($7.85)
LIONSGATE +5% ($16.03)
COMCAST -5%, see missed Broadband subscriber projections ($49.58)
SNAP +5% ($50.40)
AMC THEATERS +7% ($31.04)
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
DISNEY+ “Welcome to Earth” - Will Smith exotic globetrotting series, 6 parts. Stream or Add to Your List here
If you were sent this newsletter or… just kinda found it:
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
TNT“Snowpiercer” Season 3 trailer. Premieres Mon Jan 24
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
SHAWN MENDES “It’ll Be Ok” - new, reassuring single from a guy who spells his name wrong.
Listen to the song here on SPOTIFY or:
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