Welcome to the power play edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. Here’s what’s topping today!
During our Golden Globes results show, Disney after taking Netflix last holiday season, scrapped its 3D collection in favor of Viacom’s disappointing viewer report which robbed them of taking the entertainment company since the deal to keep their channels on Direct TV. According to their CEO Bobby Iger, the team up is now part of a “power play”. What does that mean Johnny?
Johnny Trout (via Multichannel News)- Walt Disney Co. chairman and CEO Bob Iger said the media giant’s recent output deal with Netflix won’t cut into viewership at its kids’ networks and other channels, on a conference call with analysts late Tuesday.
In December Disney signed a long-term licensing deal with Netflix beginning in 2016 for an estimated $350 million per year. The agreement replaces an earlier deal the studio had with cable premium channel Starz.
On a conference call to discuss its fiscal first-quarter results, Iger said he has no qualms that the Netflix deal will steer viewers away from its other networks, especially its kids’ channels.
Online’s ability to affect ratings at linear networks was most evident last year in a report by Sanford Bernstein media analyst Todd Juenger, who showed how Viacom’s deal with Netflix for its cable content helped draw viewers away from its Nickelodeon kids’ network.
On the conference call, Iger said he was impressed with Netflix’s platform and user interface, and without revealing details said the online giant “stepped up and paid the right price.”
He added that he was confident the strength of its networks like the Disney Channel networks was sufficient to withstand any added pressure from Netflix.
“This is not a step in the direction of encouraging people to not subscribe to multichannel services,” Iger said on the call. “This is a movie play… Given the popularity of shows that we have, the demand to see those shows relatively quickly remains pretty high and we believe we will be able to sustain that.”
Disney also seemed to ease analysts’ fears that its recent flurry of carriage deals could affect affiliate fee growth, especially at its ESPN channels. Chief financial officer Jay Rasulo said that the company is beginning to see the effect of some of those new deals already one month into the fiscal second quarter.
“We are beginning to recognize in the second fiscal quarter the new rates associated with the new deals we negotiated at ESPN,” Rasulo said. “The rates are differential across all the ESPN channels. Yes, I think we can expect to see an increase. I don’t want to talk about how much.”
Rasulo said that Disney was “exploring” an exit from its ESPN UK network, which has been in limbo since the channel lost the bidding for British Premier League Soccer rights last year. He declined further comment.
There’s been a change concerning the upcoming movie Peabody and Sherman. Originally, the flick was supposed to premiere in November. With DreamWorks now in 20th Fox’s hands, what did they do to solve this overlapping problem Jimmy?
Jim Fish (via The L.A. Times Entertainment Edition)- DreamWorks Animation said Tuesday night that it is pushing back the release date for its animated movie “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” by four months.
The Glendale studio said it was changing the release date for the film from Nov. 1 to March 7, 2014, at the recommendation of its distributor, Twentieth Century Fox. As a result of the decision, “Me & My Shadow,” which had previously been scheduled for release in March 2014, will go back into development.
“Our distributor, who has had great success in March with their ‘Ice Age’ franchise, has recommended we move ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ to the spring of 2014, which we totally agree is a much more advantageous release window,” said Anne Globe, chief marketing officer of DreamWorks Animation, said in a statement.
The company’s feature film slate for 2013 and 2014 is now as follows: “The Croods” on March 22; “Turbo” on July 19; “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” on March 7, 2014; “How To Train Your Dragon 2” on June 20, 2014; and “Happy Smekday!” on Nov. 26, 2014.
“We believe the best strategy for DreamWorks Animation in the long run is to ensure that every one of our films has an optimal release date with the biggest opportunity to succeed at the box office,” added DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg. “The move of ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ means that we will now release two films in 2013, and we are adjusting our operating infrastructure costs accordingly.”
Katzenberg did not specify what the cost cutting would entail but the decision is expected to result in layoffs at the studio, which employs more than 2,000 people.
DreamWorks Animation is expected to take a substantial write-off on its previous animated movie “Rise of the Guardians,” which fared poorly at the domestic box office after its release last Thanksgiving.
After planning to continue the Star Wars collection that Fox left behind, Disney’s planning some spinoffs to coincide the first new 3 Star Wars films. How many of them will be made Angie?
Angie Angelfish (via The Wrap)- Disney is planning “Star Wars” spin-off movies in addition to the three sequels it has previously announced, Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger said Tuesday.
The Disney head said that Lawrence Kasdan is working on one script for the films and Simon Kinberg is working on another. They will focus on characters from the “Star Wars” universe, but Iger did not offer any additional details. He would not say how many standalone movies would be produced.
As The Wrap first reported, Disney has enlisted J.J. Abrams to direct the first film in a proposed new trilogy. Iger told analysts on a conference call that the company was “pleased” to have Abrams, the director of the “Star Trek” reboot and co-creator of “Lost,” taking the franchise into the future.
Michael Arndt, an Oscar-winner for “Little Miss Sunshine,” will handle that script. The Abrams-directed film will hit theaters in 2015, Iger said.
Both Kasdan and Kinberg will serve as creative consultants on Abrams’ film.
Kasdan, who is best known as the director or “The Big Chill,” is well versed in the “Star Wars” vernacular. He has previously written the screenplays for “Return of the Jedi” and “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Kinberg may not have done a turn in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, but he has big-budget experience. Among his screenwriting credits are blockbusters like “Sherlock Holmes” (2009) and “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006).
Iger first announced the projects during an appearance on CNBC. It is more evidence that Disney is hoping to exploit the “Star Wars” characters in myriad ways from toys to theme park rides beyond just continuing the story of the Skywalkers.
Disney needs to be creative when it comes to monetizing these characters because it paid a hefty $4.05 billion in cash and stock to buy Lucasfilm from George Lucas last October.
Iger told analysts that Disney brass talked with Lucas about the possibility of doing standalone films separate from the “Star Wars” saga prior to its purchase of the company.
“Those possibilities are becoming more real,” Iger said.
Iger did say that Disney’s valuation of Lucasfilm did not factor in any potential revenue from big screen spin-offs, saying the prospect was too “premature” at that point.
Things were painful in the toon world at the box office between 2010, 2011, and last year much to the Guardians troubles at Paramount. Fox’s Ice Age, Universal’s Despicable Me, and Disney’s Toy Story franchises have propelled the box office to its highest levels. As for Warner Bros’. 2 previous blockbusters Happy Feet 2 and Legend of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole, the Warner’s haven’t been performing well since 2007’s TNMT. To that end, it gave them an idea to solve the losing slump. What was it Perch?
Perch Perkins (via The L.A. Times Entertainment Edition)- Committing to the genre after years of fits and starts, Warner Bros. on Monday said it will produce one animated movie per year beginning in 2014.
Every other major studio in Hollywood has established an animation strategy in the past few years, with some such as 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures and Walt Disney Studios making the movies in-house and others like Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures relying on outside companies with which it makes deals.
While animated franchises like “Toy Story,” “Ice Age” and “Despicable Me” have been among the industry’s most profitable, Warner’s approach has been more cautious. Its last two animated films, 2011’s “Happy Feet Two” and 2010’s “Legend of the Guardians,” were both box-office flops. Prior to that, the studio hadn’t released an animated movie since 2007’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
Already in the works for 2014 is an animated film based on the “Lego” toys, to be made by “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and “21 Jump Street” co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
The studio announced it already has movies in development. “Storks,” written by “Muppets” director Nicholas Stoller and directed by Pixar veteran Doug Sweetland, is a planned 2015 release. “Smallfoot,” written by “Crazy Stupid Love” screenwriters John Requa and Glenn Ficarra and directed by Sergio Pablos, a producer on “Despicable Me,” is planned for 2016.
Warner film group President Jeff Robinov said those filmmakers, along with “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” writer Jared Stern, would be part of an animation “think tank” for the studio.
Warner Bros. was once second only to Disney as a player in animation, thanks to its library of Looney Tunes characters including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and Wile E. Coyote.
The studio appears to be developing new properties with its latest attempt rather than building on that legacy. It will work with outside companies to handle production work on its animated films.
Checking the Penguins tally, 107 fans sign in help Team Skipper wish good luck on the final mission. Speaking of that, Nick Germany will air the last mission on Valentine’s Day. This could surprise the other international Nick channels as well as catching them off guard including our US affiliate which would abruptly end the series on a surprising note! Let’s see if our friends at Nick Germany call shotgun!
If you’re getting your loved one the newest movie just in time for Valentine’s Day, then you’ve come to the right place! Here’s a list of DVD releases this month:
Here Comes the Boom
Little White Lies
Celeste and Jesse Forever
Paul Williams Still Alive
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel
The Kid With a Bike
Robot & Frank
Chicken With Plums
Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow
How to Survive a Plague
The Loneliest Planet
Love’s in the air in 2013 in the entertainment world, and we’ll be able to bring you the most admirable stories to you! We’ll see you soon for another edition of my entertainment report!