WED 2.24.21: Tina Fey & Jon Hamm doing John Slattery directed dark comedy
Kitsch joins Pratt for AMAZON series, Jon Stewart hires team for APPLE TV show and more
Mornin! Here’s the Hollywood + MediaBiz news to know on WEDNESDAY 2.24.2021.
Where today’s the day Bob Bakish will (finally) give all details about PARAMOUNT+ like uh… the price. Plus other VIACOM CBS 4Q 2020 earnings call info.
CBS ALL ACCESS ends… and PARAMOUNT+ begins in 8 days on Thu March 4.
🎧 MUSIC TO READ BY
Brand New DROPKICK MURPHYS: “Middle Finger”. New album out in April. YouTube / Spotify / Apple Music
All songs mentioned are here if you need tunes:
And if you want this info while driving… it goes up as a podcast by 11am. ish.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
Tina Fey & Jon Hamm doing indie dark comedy directed by John Slattery
Small desert-town police chief has 2 murders on his hands to investigate, called “Maggie Moore(s)”. Endeavor Content repping sales. /Deadline
NETFLIX buys Zoe Saldana 1800s vigilantes vs pirates movie project “The Bluff”
Set in 1800’s Cayman Islands, Saldana teams with local vigilantes to fight off a pirate invasion of her island.
Involves million dollar payday for the writers, Russo Bros among producers. /Deadline
ALSO IN MOVIES
FOCUS FEATURES buys Edgar Wright directed SUNDANCE docu “The Sparks Brothers” about the cult pop band. MRC Non-Fiction produced, Focus takes global rights, no price disclosed. /Variety
David Oyelowo’s directorial debut “The Water Man” sold to NETFLIX globally, but RJLE in the US for May 7 release (theaters & PVOD). No sale price disclosed. Rosario Dawson co-stars, Oprah’s an Exec Prod. /THR
Spike Lee producing NETFLIX film “Gordon Hemingway & The Realm of Cthulhu”, directed by “See You Tomorrow” director Stefon Bristol (IFP Best 1st Screenplay winner). /THR
A24 backs new production/management firm called 2AM from former ENDEAVOR CONTENT partner, KILLER FILMS exec. /Deadline
Gerard Depardieu charged with rape in 2018 case in France. /THR
📺 THE TV SET
AMAZON sets Taylor Kitsch to join Chris Pratt for “The Terminal List” conspiracy thriller series
A Navy SEAL (Pratt) discovers dark forces may have been responsible for his SEAL team gettting ambushed in a high stakes mission. Secrets and danger for his family ensues…
Kitsch playing Pratt’s best friend and former SEAL, Antoine Fuqua directing. /Deadline
Jon Stewart sets production team for his new APPLE TV+ news show
Brinda Adhikari from “CBS Evening News” will be showrunner. No production timeline yet. /THR
ALSO IN TV
Mark Wahlberg & his UNREALISTIC IDEAS Co. partners with Social Media star Josh Richards to create Gen Z/creator-focused production company CROSS CHECK STUDIOS. /THR
HULU sets VICTORIA’S SECRET 3 part docuseries. From Matt Tyrnauer, director of “The Reagans” & APPLE TV’s “Home” docuseries. Peter Berg’s company among producers. Will debut 2022. /Variety
BET renews Tyler Perry’s “The Oval” for 3rd season. /Deadline
PEACOCK orders 13 ep “Frogger” competition show. From producers of “Holey Moley”. /Variety
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
A dive into DISNEY+ STAR expansion, but first a Clarification from yesterday’s email.
While STAR is an international HULU-equivalent content wise (adult/general entertainment series & movies), STAR is a new section within DISNEY+ included with the subscription in UK/Europe, Australia & Canada- NOT a separate add on service one has to pay for (like HULU is here). My apologies for any inaccuracies yesterday, and this pic kinda clicked it for my brain.
However the price of a DISNEY+ subscription in UK/Europe, Australia & Canada is now going up about $3/month (to $11/month) for new customers as a result (or about $25 for the annual subscription). Existing customers are grandfathered in until August, when their price will go up too.
So in the US - if you want HULU, you pay for it. Internationally - you don’t have a choice and just pay a higher overall price for DISNEY+ with STAR included (aka a version of HULU with ABC/FX/Local Originals & FOX Movies).
WHY DO THIS?
It gives the DISNEY+ International subscription appeal to adults who have no interest in kids/family programming or genre fare, and more content for parents who pay the DISNEY+ bill. Essentially, it moves to level the DISNEY+ playing field with NETFLIX, who has both kids/family content and adult content (and far more locally-produced original content, but give STAR time).
DISNEY+ has an ARPU problem (Avg Revenue Per User, each month): It keeps going down (I’ll explain that in a separate email this week for anyone interested). STAR takes programming that DISNEY already (mostly) owns, and repackages it so they can charge people more $$ and raise ARPU.
In the US… DISNEY is still keeping HULU separate. For now. Only bundle option is that (soon to be) $14/month deal for DISNEY+ & HULU together (with ESPN+). Once DISNEY buys out COMCAST’s 1/3 stake in HULU’s business in a few years… that could change.
TO NOTE: DISNEY+ has also increased age-gating capabilities with the addition of more adult content. And the STAR section (and DISNEY+ price increases) will roll out to Japan, South Korea and Eastern Europe later this year TBD.
DISNEY is also launching something called STAR+ in Latin America this year, which is a different product that will also include ESPN… but we’ll save that for another time.
Pieced together from The Verge, Tech Radar and Radio Times. Please reply to this email if you have questions or if I didn’t lay it out clearly enough - first attempt at this kind of ‘explainer’.
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
SHOWTIME “City on a Hill” Season 2 trailer. New season drops Sun March 28th.
SHOWTIME “Couples Therapy” reality series Season 2 trailer. Premieres Sun April 18.
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
FX “Snowfall” Season 4 premiere at 10pm.
ALSO: This year’s VANITY FAIR Hollywood Issue is out.
That’s all ya’ll - if you like the newsletter, SHARE the newsletter with your team, co-workers, or your driver. Do LA folks still have drivers?
Have a great day!