THE BAD GUYS prospers, Liam Neeson officially DOA at box office
BILL MURRAY speaks on film-set incident / FANTASTIC FOUR director out at MARVEL / 70s SHOW cast joins for THAT 90s SHOW
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on MONDAY May 2, 2022.
Where tomorrow’s email may be a bit late if things get a little out of control for me at the MET GALA tonight.
Ok fine 🙄 I’ll be doing a
VIACOM PARAMOUNT GLOBAL subscriber and ARPU refresher to get ready for the earnings call tomorrow AM while eating popcorn on my couch tonight… but I’ll have you know I’ll be looking very fashionable while doing so.
AND: NEWFRONTS are this week so should be a decent amount of digital publishing & streaming news on tap.
AND AND: TCA will also be July 27-Aug 13 back in Pasadena
ALSO: THE JUDDS joined the COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME last night, one day after the death of Naomi Judd at 76 years old, due to “the disease of mental illness”.
PLUS: “Almost Famous” is coming to Broadway this year… date TBA. Crowe wrote the book & lyrics - and I personally can’t wait for the “Fuck It! I’m Gay!” number on the plane.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cinderella” is closing in London in June, a “revamped” version will still come to Broadway in 2023… again TBA.
OH AND: Happy first official day at work for new CNN CEO Chris Licht. 🥳
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
“The Bad Guys” : $14 Million ($44 Million US, $119 Million global)
Very slight 33% week 2 drop
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” : $11 Million ($161 Million US, $324 Million global)
Even slighter 27% drop from last week.
These 2 movies also have the pure-play Family Film crowd to themselves for… 7 weeks. (although “Doctor Strange” will certainly cross into the Family venn diagram this weekend)
“Fantastic Beasts… Dumbledore” : $8 Million ($80 Million US, $330 Million global)
41% drop from last weekend. Should crawl to $100 Million US… eventually, which will only make up 25% of the total box office.
“The Northman” : $6 Million ($23 Million US)
50% drop from opening weekend
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” : $5.5 Million ($35 Million US)
Actually a slight uptick vs. last week, although they returned briefly to 256 IMAX screens (til “Doctor Strange” comes in) which helped.
This is the movie of the Spring, huge win for A24 👏.
“Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” : $4 Million ($13.5 Million US)
45% week 2 drop.
ELSEWHERE AT THE BOX OFFICE
OPEN ROAD’s“Memory” starring Liam Neeson opened to $3 Million in 8th place. More on this 👇.
LIAM NEESON: Covid Box Office’s patron saint, Post-Covid Box Office’s casualty
When most studios were selling their pics off to streamers and treating the Box Office like Ronald Miller at the New Years party in “Can’t Buy Me Love”… Liam Neeson pics were often the only thing going for movie theaters during the true depths of the pandemic, with 3 of them dropping at various drought points for movie theater product. (ah remember 25% capacity rules?).
So - “Memory” was his first pic released in a normal box office environment this weekend and… had the same opening total as his pics that opened in the Covid-era.
Which got my mind going - where exactly did the Liam Neeson train go off the rails? (which is also probably the plot of his next film).
It looks like he was still actually opening pics pre-Covid. Granted - they dropped off quickly, but they often matched or exceeded their US $$ totals overseas to average about $50-$60 Million, so obviously that production budget math worked for his backers. However now at $20 - $30 Million… maybe not so much
So… taking that $18 Million check from NETFLIX for “Ice Road” last year looks to have been the smart call.
NOTE: I’m just tracking “Liam Neeson movies”, not big movies he had smaller roles in (“Widows” etc).
Feb 2022 - “Blacklight”: $3.5 Million open, $10 Mil US total
June 2021 - “The Ice Road”: Sold to NETFLIX for $18 Mil in the US ($5 Mil int’l BO)
Jan 2021 - “The Marksman”: $3.1 Million open, $15 Mil US total
Oct 2020 - “Honest Thief”: $3.6 Million open, $14 Mil US total
Feb 2019 - “Cold Pursuit”: $11 Million open, $32 Mil US total
Jan 2018 - “The Commuter”: $13 Million open, $36 Mil US total
Mar 2015 - “Run All Night”: $11 Million open, $26 Mil US total
Jan 2015 - “Taken 3”: $39 Million open, $89 Mil US total
Sept 2014 - “A Walk Among Tombstones”: $12 Million open, $26 Mil US total
Feb 2013 - “Non-Stop” : $29 Million open, $91 Mil US total
Oct 2012 - “Taken 2”: $50 Million open, $140 Mil US total
Jan 2012 - “The Grey”: $19 Million open, $50 Mil US total
Feb 2011 - “Unknown”: $22 Million open, $63 Mil US total
Jan 2009 - “Taken”: $24 Million open, $145 Mil US total
1ST - Liam really loves the first quarter. 10 of his 14 pics were released in the Jan - Mar window.
2ND - His action movie Box Office career is basically over. And given his 70th birthday is in June… it probably should be. He got an understandable pass for the low box office returns of the Covid movies, but “Memory” shows this is actually the new reality for him.
BUT: He still has 3 “Liam Neeson Movies” to come - 2 already shot, 1 in pre-production. TBD if these see the light of day in US movie theaters.
THOUGHT - Is it too late for him to take a big Adam Sandler-style deal from a streaming company for say 5 more movies? Gotta think these have a sizable streaming value to squeeze out for the right price. If Liam is still up to the task that is… and hungry for the payday.
PLAN B - There’s always the ‘direct-to-DVD' route that Nic Cage and Bruce Willis were living in that is in need of a fresh former A-Lister to support international pre-sales. Or uh… ya know, pivot back into prestige.
ALSO IN MOVIES
MARVEL’s ‘reinvention’ of “Fantastic Four” needs a new director - Jon Watts (“Spider-Man: No Way Home”) is dropping out. He apparently ‘needs a break’ from superheroes… although no reason as to why he just recently discovered that. /Deadline
SEARCHLIGHT sets Blake Lively to make her directorial debut, adapting the book “Seconds”. Edgar Wright is doing the screenplay & producing.
It’s about a woman who gains the ability to fix past mistakes by writing them down in a notebook, eating a mushroom and going to bed. Swap in “newsletter” for “notebook” and you have the genesis for what I was hoping for with this thing. Sounds like the idea goes about as well for her as it did for me. /THR
IN THE HOLLYWOOD EXECUTIVE SUITE
DISNEY Chief Corp Affairs Officer Geoff Morell is out after 3 months. Funny how Chapek picking a guy with… Zero Hollywood experience didn’t work out. So just as the Marketing head is the first one to roll when a Studio has a bad run at the Box Office… same goes for the Corporate disaster of a 2022 so far for DISNEY. /THR
Bob Chapek is replacing Geoff with current EVP, Kristina Schake moving up to Global Comms Head, someone who… also only has a background in politics. Bob’s current contract is up in December. /THR
Government Relations however… will now fall to the legal department, namely DISNEY General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez.
If you find THE WAKEUP useful…
Share it with a friend or your work team?
📝 IN OTHER WORDS…
“I did something I thought was funny, and it wasn’t taken that way… As of now we are talking, and we are trying to make peace with each other.”
- BILL MURRAY talking to… CNBC (?) as part of the… BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY annual shareholders gathering(??) in… Omaha (???). Yeah that couldn’t be more on brand for Bill.
Either way - his full remarks regarding the incident on the set of the Aziz Ansari pic that is under review at SEARCHLIGHT are here for the inclined.
📺 THE TV SET
All “That 70’s Show” main cast will appear in NETFLIX’s “That 90’s Show” spinoff
Well… except one. I’ll let you guess. Hint: he’s currently awaiting trial. The involvement of the other 5 is only described as “guest appearances” so - dealers choice as to how much that’ll be.
But the show revolves around Eric & Donna’s kid so chances are Topher & Laura may be there a bit more than the others. 🕺/THR
NETFLIX drops Meghan Markle animated project “Pearl” before it starts
Project was announced last Summer and was still in the development phase / did not have series order… but obviously NETFLIX is now seemingly also taking a Zaslav-ian look at their development cupboard 🥸. /Deadline
HULU orders Holocaust limited series starring Joey King
Based on a book called “We Were the Lucky Ones”, 8 episodes telling the true story of a Jewish family separated at the start of WWII who was determined to survive and reunite.
Thomas Kail (Hamilton) is directing, scripts currently being written. /THR
ALSO IN TV
NETFLIX cancels “Space Force” after 2 seasons. /Deadline
NETFLIX sets Bruce Greenwood to replace Frank Langella in the limited series “Fall of the House of Usher”, which Frank was fired from for misconduct last month. /THR
FX adds Christian Slater and Josh Radner to limited series “Fleischman is in Trouble” starring Jessie Eisenberg, Claire Danes and Lizzy Caplan. /Deadline
CBS sets new showrunners for Season 3 of “The Equilizer”. /Deadline
AMAZON PRIME launching 3 “Modern Love” spinoffs in INDIA, with more expected globally. /Collider
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
AMAZON says MGM’s brand & IP is $1.5 Billion more valuable than it’s entire TV & Movie library
This according to a recent 10-Q financial statement. The Library was given a $3.4 Billion valuation, and it’s “Goodwill” $4.9 Billion.
“Goodwill” is an intentionally broad financial term that can conveniently be determined & valued in the future by AMAZON however it likes, as it covers things like:
the MGM “brand”
the value of its franchise IP
and well, whatever else AMAZON wants to put in there that… is pretty much all in the eye of the beholder.
Basically - makes it a lot harder to show AMAZON overpaid for it, unless AMAZON sells it at some point. #yeahright /THR
BROADCAST Ad revenue was +15% in Q1
Man it’s too bad Broadcast TV is dead. Someone should really tell them.
And yes granted… that is vs. 2021, but overall national TV advertising is +.3% vs Q1 2020 (ie the last ‘normal’ quarter). #TVisthenewTV /NextTV
CHARTER loses 112k Cable TV customers from Jan thru March
The #2 Cable TV & Internet company basically mirrored the trends at #1 company COMCAST: cord cutting is unabated, broadband and mobile continue to grow, and home phone is the equivalent of a dialup internet business in the 2000s.
CABLE TV: 15.7 Million (-112k)
BROADBAND: 30.2 Million (+185k)
MOBILE: 3.9 Million (+373k)
HOME PHONE: 9.7 Million (-150k)
ALSO IN MEDIA
AMC THEATERS CEO Adam Arons made $18.9 Million in 2021. Yeah I guess the movie theater business isn’t hurting as much as we might think. It’s mostly in stock (cash comp was “just” $1.45 Million). /THR
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
AMAZON -14% ($2485.63) Yikes.
ALTICE -7% ($9.28)
CHARTER -7% (428.49)
SIRIUSXM -5% ($6.00)
ENDEAVOR -5% ($22.75)
Otherwise a negative day for pretty much everyone, down 1-4%.
If you don’t already get THE WAKEUP, sign up here:
Hits your inbox weekdays by 830a (ish) East Coast time
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
Um. You can come analyze PARAMOUNT GLOBAL earnings reports with me!
🕵️♀️ THE WEEK AHEAD
TUE - PARAMOUNT+ subscriber updates in the AM
WED - NY TIMES subscriber updates in the AM
THU - “Doctor Strange” hits your theaters, “Girls5Eva” hits your PEACOCK. ALSO - WWE earnings after the bell in the afternoon 🤼
FRI - NETFLIX drops “The Takedown” with Omar Sy for “Transporter”-style action fans… and “Along for the Ride” YA pic for the exact opposite of that demo.
SAT - SNL is Zoe Kravitz and ROSALIA, also KENTUCKY DERBY day 👒
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
No new SNL this past weekend, but YT served me up this video again of how James Austin Johnson built his dead-on Trump SNL impersonation… So for anyone else kind of obsessed with it (apparently also including Seth Meyers), this was awesome.
And here is Biden’s 10 minute set from the WHCA event on Saturday (Trevor’s set is on the C-SPAN page as well, though that one runs 25 mins).
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
So yeah my brain definitely checked out early for the weekend on Friday morning and I forgot to, ya know, actually include a song from the new KNOCKS album.
So - ‘Stay Gold’ brain! We were both enjoying this one over the weekend.
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
Might be coincidence, but it seems like Liam Neeson's career took a hit around the time he gave an interview in which he talked about racist comments he'd made when he was younger.
Of course the whole point of his remarks was to say how he's grown since then and no longer holds such attitudes, but as a rule, self-righteous internet mobs are not interested in explanations and *especially* not forgiveness.