The Animation Guild is gathering information for a possible “wage suppression” lawsuit against Hollywood’s major animation studios, members were informed on Tuesday night. The guild believes that toon studios, including Disney and DreamWorks, might have entered into an illegal pact not to recruit one another’s employees, thus suppressing their wages. Guild members were informed of the fact-finding mission during Tuesday night’s packed general membership meeting.
“It’s come to light that Disney, DreamWorks, and other studios may have participated in a … wage suppression cartel, and our members have been interested in the guild taking action on behalf of those who may have been damaged by having their compensation suppressed unlawfully,” guild organizer Steve Kaplan wrote on the IATSE Local 839’s website.
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The FCC received so many comments – more than a million – on proposed changes to its net neutrality rules that its website crashed. But don’t blame SAG-AFTRA or the DGA; neither weighed in before the deadline.
“We have not filed comments,” said an official for the actors union. Likewise, said a rep for the directors: “The DGA hasn’t made any filings regarding net neutrality in the latest round.”
Related: WGA Makes Last FCC Pitch On Latest Net Neutrality Rules
The WGA, on the other hand, has told the FCC that its proposed changes threaten our very democracy and “throws the concept of (net) neutrality directly under the bus.” Said a member of all three unions, “It’s kind of astonishing that SAG and the DGA have made no comment on this.”
Related: Netflix And AT&T Reach Interconnection Agreement
Four years ago, when the FCC solicited comments on another set of net neutrality rules, the WGA found itself at odds with SAG and the DGA; they sided with the MPAA, which called net neutrality “a clever name” for piracy. “No discussion of net neutrality can be complete without consideration of the effects of any form of Internet regulation on the illegal digital theft of copyrighted content and the resulting impact on jobs, creativity and innovation,” … Read More »
Lucy Fry will play Alexis, the most popular girl in school who becomes the apple of a young drug dealer’s eye in Joe Castelo‘s film. The Preppie Connection follows a group of private school students who ran a drug ring during the early 1980s. The ring is spearheaded by Toby, one of the lower-class scholarship candidates at the school, who uses his street cred and access to drugs to work his way into the popular-kid clique, which includes Alexis. Production began this week on Staten Island. Fry recently wrapped Blumhouse/Universal’s 6 Miranda Drive starring Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell and Matt Walsh. She most recently was seen in the Weinstein Co.’s Vampire Academy. Fry is repped by ICM and Mollison Keightley Management (Australia), IAM Management and attorney Craig Emmanuel.
You need a pay TV subscription to see the CNBC and FOX NOW programming – and not all providers have deals to offer the business news and entertainment services online to their customers. Still, these are big additions to Apple’s streaming platform, which the tech giant is eager to promote after initially characterizing it as a mere hobby.
Apple TV becomes the first TV-connected streaming platform to offer a “full-featured CNBC TV Everywhere experience,” says NBCUniversal TV Everywhere GM Alison Moore. Users can watch the channel live, and see shows or clips on demand. CNBC President Mark Hoffman says that makes it possible for viewers “to be in control of their experience.” Pay TV providers authenticating the service include AT&T U-verse, Cablevision’s Optimum TV, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox, DirecTV, Dish Network, RCN, Suddenlink, Verizon FiOS and Wide Open West.
Those accessing FOX NOW will be able to see full episodes of shows including Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Sleepy Hollow, The Simpsons, Family Guy, New Girl and Glee beginning the day after they first air. FOX NOW will offer bonus interviews and clips from its music shows including So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol. The Apple-based service can tap user preferences to recommend programming. Its Post-Play feature can facilitate binge viewing by automatically showing the next episode in a series. FOX Now is also available on iPhones and iPads as well as Android devices, Xbox, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs, and Windows 8. All of the major pay TV providers, except DirecTV, authenticate FOX NOW on Apple TV.
Looks like the greater Marvel Universe is officially coming to the upcoming Marvel’s Agent Carter – at least behind the camera. It was announced today during the Marvel TV panel at Comic-Con that Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Joe and Anthony Russo will be helming the second and third episodes of the ABC series set to debut in 2015. Captain America: The First Avenger director Joe Johnson will helm the fourth episode, with Marvel Studios co-president Louis D’Esposito set to direct the first one.
Related: TCA: ABC Sets Fall Premiere Dates
The announcements were made after a short teaser video was shown to a packed Ballroom 20. Mostly a voice-over via President Harry Truman, the post-WWII-set series promised fans that they would discover a “different side of the Marvel Universe.” Agent Carter picks up in 1946 and the first version of S.H.I.E.L.D. coming together as the Cold War heats up. Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb said the show hasn’t started stated filming and the writers room opens next week.
The cast of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. was also on the panel with Clark “Agent Phil Coulson” Gregg coming out to a thunderous standing ovation. The panel confirmed Lucy Lawless will join the show in the second season as a longtime S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Isabel Hartley. British actor Nick Blood will also join as a mercenary, and Reed Diamond, who appeared on Joss Wheldon’s 2009 Fox series Dollhouse, will also be added. The panel was treated to a specially made video of Patton Oswalt in his S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Billy Koenig role jokingly lecturing the crowd on security.
Related: ABC Picks Up ‘Marvel’s Agent Carter’, Renews ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’
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SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of the Season 9 finale of Bones.
The Comic-Con panel for 20th Century Fox TV’s Bones was chock-full of spoilers for Season 10 (watch the trailer below), but a balance of optimism and vagueness pervaded when it came to how long this series will be on the air. As Fox Networks Group Chairman/CEO Peter Rice mentioned at TCA, Fox would love more seasons of Bones, but it boils down to renewing the contracts of leads Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, which are up at the end of the season. “To go 10 seasons like this was inconceivable, and I know these guys feel the same,” said executive producer Stephen Nathan. “They are so inspirational and kept these characters alive. … Hopefully you’ll see us going to 20 seasons.”
Related: ‘Bones’ Renewed For Season 10, Will Return To Mondays In March
Boreanaz responded to Nathan’s optimism by closing his eyes, a sign that 20 is just way too long.
“I like to work in the present on what we’re working on now,” Boreanaz said about his future with the show. “It’s always a moment-for-moment thing for me. Whether it’s Episode 500 or Episode 1,000, it’s just about the moment at hand.” Read More »
The comics legend’s reps say he was hit with a bout of laryngitis and isn’t making the trip to San Diego after all. Twitter was abuzz about Stan Lee‘s sudden pullout today, with folks speculating about the 91-year-old Spider-Man and X-Men co-creator’s health. But a spokesman tells Deadline that Lee simply lost his voice and otherwise is “well and healthy”. He was set for a meet-and-greet and DVD signing on Friday afternoon to promote his Stan Lee’s Mighty 7 franchise. It’s definitely a bummer, but on with the Con.
Comic-Con 2014 officially opens today and tens of thousands are descending on San Diego to pick up their passes and prepare for four days of special screenings, studio and network panels, and previews. Having already hit the ground running, Deadline is here with Mike Fleming Jr leading our film coverage along with Jen, while Dominic and Anthony D’Alessandro handle the TV side. (Dominic will also be moderating FX’s Archer panel this year.)
Of course, veteran heavyweights like HBO’s Game Of Thrones and AMC’s The Walking Dead will be packing the mammoth Hall H on the TV side. HBO’s True Blood, a longtime fave in its final season, is set to make its Comic-Con bow Saturday in Ballroom 20, as is Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, which just wrapped its first season and has its panel this evening. Repping the big screen side, studios are putting their tentpole wares out there with presentations by Marvel and Warner Bros with The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies and Mad Max: Fury Road among others.
Below we spotlight a few special events on the schedule that you don’t want to miss. (For the full TV and film lineups, go here and here.) Read More »
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves officially announced that the Late Show With Stephen Colbert will remain in New York and continue broadcasting from the historic Ed Sullivan Theater. The agreement includes a commitment by CBS for approximately 200 New York-based jobs to support the daily program’s year-round production schedule. Here’s how CBS spun it this morning: Read More »
The results should keep investors busy until Apple holds its quarterly conference call where it might drop a hint about its new product plans. Apple appears to have done well in the three months ending in June with net income of $7.75B, + 12.3% vs the period last year, on revenues of $37.43B, +6%. The top line was a tad shy of the $37.99B that analysts expected. But earnings at $1.28 a share beat forecasts for $1.23.
The company sold 35.2M iPhones in the quarter, +12.7% from last year. BGC analyst Colin Gillis anticipated just 31.8M. But iPads were down 9.2% to 13.3M. The number of Mac sales increased 17.6% to 4.4M. iPod sales fell nearly 36% to 2.9M.
“Our record June quarter revenue was fueled by strong sales of iPhone and Mac and the continued growth of revenue from the Apple ecosystem, driving our highest EPS growth rate in seven quarters,” CEO Tim Cooks says. “We are incredibly excited about the upcoming releases of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, as well as other new products and services that we can’t wait to introduce.”
Craig Bierko has been cast as a lead opposite Shiri Appleby in Lifetime’s darkly comedic drama series Un-Real, which gives a behind-the-scenes look at the chaos surrounding the production of a competition dating reality series. He will play the show’s sexy and arrogant creator Chet. The 10-episode series, from Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, is inspired by Shapiro’s short film Sequin Raze. It centers on Rachel (Appleby), a young staffer whose sole job is to manipulate her relationships with and among the contestants. Bierko is with Paradigm.
Michael Irby (Almost Human) is set to recur on another Lifetime freshman drama, The Lottery, which just premiered. Produced by Warner Horizon, the 10-episode thriller is set in a dystopian future when women have stopped having children, threatening extinction of the human race. Irby, repped by Greene & Assoc. and the Coronel Group, will play Nick, the older brother to Vanessa (Athena Karkanis) who has made unwise choices that have led to trouble, again and again.
3BlackDot – a hybrid entertainment company with gamer and social-media-marketing roots and composed of video production, game development, online influencer and integrated marketing units – has officially come out of stealth mode this morning. Company principals include two former Machinima executives (Angelo Pullen and Luke Stepleton) and two prominent YouTube personalities (SeaNanners, aka Adam Montoya, and TheSyndicateProject, aka Tom Cassell).
As well, Stepleton’s older brother, former Duck Dynasty co-executive producer Hank Stepleton, will join the organization as partner and head of Pickaxe, the company’s video-content production company. The first Pickaxe project will be a live-action short based on Zombie Killer Squad, the mobile title developed by the company’s game unit and released last November to substantial success. The trailer for the short will be shown at San Diego Comic-Con this week, at a lounge 3BlackDot will be running for its online influencers and others.
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André Rieu Concert Sets UK Box Office Record
Flying the flag for event cinema, André Rieu’s 2014 10th Anniversary Maastricht Concert became the UK’s highest-grossing music event of all time at the box office this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, CinemaLive screened the concert at 410 locations across the UK and Ireland, grossing $1.42M. The concert also screened at 234 moviehouses in European markets including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Romania, Finland and Croatia, bringing the total gross box office figure to more than $2.05M for the weekend. Rieu’s July 2013 cinema concert event set UK records with about $766K. The massive jump this year is one more feather in the cap of live event cinema which has been growing in popularity with music- and theater-loving crowds. Classical violinist Rieu, aka “The King of Waltz”, is known for his energetic and festive live performances. He has sold more than 35M albums worldwide. Further screenings of the concert will take place this coming weekend in Australia and New Zealand, followed by Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Russia and South East Asia to ultimately reach more than 1,000 cinema screens in 35 countries. Pretty soon, I’ll have to start adding these to my international weekend box office reports.
Venice Critics’ Week Lineup Revealed
The National Union of Italian Film Critics has unveiled its selection for the 29th running of Critics’ Week at the … Read More »
Peter Bart and Mike Fleming Jr. worked together for two decades at Daily Variety. In this weekly Sunday column, two old friends get together and grind their axes on the movie business.
Bart: Like 7th grade boys staring in the mirror, corporate CEOs these days keep asking themselves, “Am I big enough?” What scares them is the prospect of becoming a takeover target, and there’s been a rush of takeover talk lately —Rupert Murdoch’s bid for Time Warner being the most dramatic. Size means safety in the corporate universe and Time Warner became vulnerable by ridding itself of Time Inc., AOL and Time Warner Cable — the latter becoming a target for Comcast. With giants like Google, Apple and Amazon looming, CEOs are scared they can’t measure up, but the folks who should really be frightened are the creatives and their audiences. Bigness means giant fees for bankers and profits for shareholders, but the impact of the monoliths is easy to read — a universe of corporate plodding, tentpoles and sequels.
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Maybe it was because the preceding panel dealt with NFL football, but TV journalists butted heads repeatedly at today’s TCA panel with executive producer Kevin Williamson, asking how his new series Stalker is different from his older show on another network that features many similar elements. The EP/creator appeared with stars Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott, but Williamson spent most of his time on the panel explaining why the drama about detectives tracking stalkers is different from his Fox series The Following, which is about an FBI agent tracking a serial killer and his murderous cult (Williamson said Jennifer Johnson has taken over as showrunner of the Fox series).
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It’s a foregone conclusion now that something big will happen with Time Warner. Its stock wouldn’t be up 20% since yesterday morning — when Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch‘s $80B June offer came to light – if investors thought that Time Warner’s rejection of it was the last word on the matter. Indeed, the stock closed today at $86.12, which means a lot of people are betting that Fox or someone else will top the $85 a share stock-and-cash proposal that Time Warner shunned.
But here’s the problem: Some of Wall Street’s top analysts don’t know who has the desire and wherewithal to wage a bidding war with Fox. If Time Warner seriously wants to escape Murdoch’s embrace, it might have to make a deal of its own — perhaps to buy CBS. Even if it did, “Time Warner would still have to make the argument that more value would be created by merging with CBS than by accepting Fox’s tender offer,” Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger says.
What about other usual suspects who might covet Time Warner? Comcast and AT&T are out of the running as they pursue their acquisition deals with, respectively, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV. Here are others that might conceivably kick the tires:
Disney: Hard to find anyone who thinks the company will jump in. Disney doesn’t need a big deal, especially with a “clear strategy that should play out over the last two years of Bob Iger’s contract,” MoffettNathanson Research’s Michael Nathanson says. The CEO likes properties that appeal to targeted audiences that he can coax to attend Disney … Read More »
UPDATE. 6:46 AM: Time Warner confirms that it rejected 21st Century Fox‘s acquisition offer saying its board concluded that remaining independent “will create significantly more value for the Company and its stockholders and is superior to any proposal that Twenty-First Century Fox is in a position to offer.” Fox said it would pay $32.42 in cash plus 1.531 of its own non-voting shares for each Time Warner share. Directors don’t like the plan, in part because it involves “significant risk and uncertainty as to the valuation of Twenty-First Century Fox’s non-voting stock and Twenty-First Century Fox’s ability to govern and manage a combination of the size and scale of Twenty-First Century Fox and Time Warner.” The board also notes that there would be “considerable strategic, operational, and regulatory risks” to a deal.
PREVIOUS, 4:39 AM: Time Warner’s up nearly 20% in pre-market trading after The New York Times and CNBC reported that the media giant recently rejected an $80B takeover proposal by Rupert Murdoch‘s 21st Century Fox. The bid could “put Time Warner in play and might again ignite a reshaping of the media industry,” the Times says. Fox COO Chase Carey met with Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes in early June offering $85 a share — 40% of it in cash — a 25% premium at the time. The proposal said that the combined companies could save at least $1B by eliminating duplication. Fox, which owns Fox News, offered to sell CNN to avoid antitrust problems, and indicated that it would maintain Time Warner’s studio and cable network operations, as well as most of its best execs, according to the reports. The Time Warner board seriously considered the proposal but rejected it, in part because the offer included nonvoting shares. Nonetheless, “Rupert Murdoch is ‘determined’ to buy Time Warner,” CNBC reports, citing unnamed sources. Murdoch is said to have enlisted Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners to advise him while Time Warner has Citigroup.
Fox says that it “can confirm that we made a formal proposal to Time Warner last month to combine the two companies. The Time Warner Board of Directors declined to pursue our proposal. We are not currently in any discussions with Time Warner.” Read More »
Ron Howard will direct a feature documentary on The Beatles. The focus will be the period from 1960-1966 when the mop-topped quartet took Europe and then the United States by storm with a flurry of 166 concerts in 15 countries and 90 cities. By the time they finished the last concert in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park in 1966, they were as big a band as Elvis Presley was a solo artist. The film has been authorized by the band’s holding company, Apple Corps Ltd, and will have the full cooperation and support of surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono Lennon, and George Harrison’s widow Olivia Harrison. The docu will be a co-production between Apple, White Horse Pictures’ Nigel Sinclair and Scott Pascucci, and Imagine Entertainment, whose principals Brian Grazer and Howard will produce with Sinclair and Pascucci. Imagine’s Michael Rosenberg and White Horse’s Guy East will be exec producers. They expect to have it ready sometimes next year, and don’t be surprised if there is a sequel, covering the band’s politicization and eventual break-up.
The film begins with the band honing its chops in Liverpool’s Cavern Club, to its first road trip shows in Hamburg, Germany, and other European countries in 1963, right before they came to America for an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. That appearance, on February 9, 1964 sparked a generation of future musicians like Eagles leaders Don … Read More »
The $9.95 a month service (with a 10-day free trial), kicks off tomorrow — and may be most noteworthy as the first of several planned specialty video offerings from Hearst Digital Studios. “The CosmoBody channel is part of a larger umbrella strategy around the Cosmo brand, and an excellent template for how Hearst Magazines and the Studios will work together going forward,” says Hearst Magazines President David Carey. Other SVOD ventures will come from within Hearst, and with outside partners, and are designed to be available to subscribers “on any platform or device, at any time, anywhere in the world,” says Hearst Digital’s Neeraj Khemlani, who’s also co-president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication.
The former Yahoo News exec describes CosmoBody as a “Netflix for fitness and lifestyle content.” It will feature workout videos, dating advice, and food and fashion information. Programming will come from Mark Burnett’s VIMBY studios (a partnership with Hearst), and will be updated daily. CosmoBody will feature eight trainers ( Jennifer Johnson, Astrid Swan McGuire, Adam Rosante, Ary Nunez, Don Saladino, Tara Stiles, Katia Pryce, and Rique Uresti), and food blogger Camille Becerra. Programming titles include Wowza Wedding Body, Sexier by Saturday, and Revenge Body.
Hearst hopes to make CosmoBody available to TV streaming devices such as Roku and Apple TV by mid-September.
Hearst has a lot riding on the initiative. The premium SVOD strategy sets the publisher apart from others that have tried to adapt to digital media by selling ads for text or a combination of text and video, or put their packages behind pay walls. … Read More »