Breaking Bad may have finished its run a year ago but, as far as Emmys are concerned, it has all the heat now – and then some. It recently won Best Drama Series from the Critics Choice Television Awards, Program Of The Year from the Television Critics Association and even finally the Golden Globe last January for the show and star Bryan Cranston after essentially being ignored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the length of its 6-year run. The show has really come into its own and continues to be talked about and debated, and has taken a kind of victory tour at all the Guild shows as well since finally winning its first Best Drama Series Emmy in 2013. And it is nominated again, for the last time, for those final eight episodes that ran last summer just as Emmy voting for the previous season was in full force. Some think voters gave it the Emmy then as much for the new shows, that were unspooling as they had ballots in hand, as much they did for the eligible 8 shows from the first half of the sixth and final season. It begs the question whether the Academy is ready to go there one more time even though BB long ago finished its first-run episodes on AMC. But despite three lead actor Emmys in 2008, 2009 and 2010 for Cranston as well as a pair for …
EMMYS: A Year After Its Finale Bryan Cranston Still Hopes ‘Breaking Bad’ Has Awards Mojo On Its Side
So which films and TV shows got the biggest bump to their social-media accounts during Comic-Con? The Deadline Team already has delivered its verdict on Comic-Con’s big winners (and yawners) overall. And it’s a challenge to be definitive with social media given the dozens of participating properties and connected stars, behind-the-camera notables, superfans and the like.
That said, social-media consulting firm RelishMIX spotted five entertainment properties that hit social-media home runs over the long weekend, led by massively popular Comic-Con videos for Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Mad Max: Fury Road. The Simpsons and Family Guy jointly scored well too, according to RelishMIX’s compilation of who added the most followers/likes/views across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to their official and related accounts (see chart below).
HBO’s Thrones, already a social-media monster, commanded a truly royal 8.3 million views of its Comic-Con YouTube videos, led by a Season 4 blooper reel that RelishMIX CEO Marc Karzen called a “super video,” with nearly 7.4 million views since it posted just four days ago.
Q&A: Peter Jackson On His Middle Earth Exit, How The Beatles And Stanley Kubrick Nearly Did LOTR, And A Disguise That Let Him Haunt Comic-Con
Peter Jackson is coming to the end of a stay in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth that has dominated a quarter of the 53-year-old director’s life, right into middle age. The result: three Lord Of The Rings films and two installments of The Hobbit that have grossed $4.89 billion in worldwide box office.
By the time The Battle Of The Five Armies, the finale to The Hobbit trilogy, plays out, Jackson’s six films may reach $6 billion, and better the current hardware haul of 17 Oscars including Best Picture for Return Of The King, and 35 other noms. Unless James Cameron has something to say about it with his new Avatar trilogy, we may never see anything again in our lives to match Jackson’s cinematic accomplishment, all done with the same creative team.
If he’s feeling the weight of that, he wore it well at Comic-Con. Mostly, he battled jet lag after the long trip to San Diego from New Zealand, where the last film waits for him to finish. He’s tired enough when I enter his hotel room that he suggests I get in bed next to where he’s resting. Then he thinks better, unsure he can stay awake unless upright. I tell him I had the same problem the night before at a very funny live Chris Hardwick-hosted game show my son was desperate to see, only to nudge me again and again for snoring too loud. Our chat started with middle-age sleep apnea and moved to Middle Earth, how close The Beatles came to doing The Lord Of The Rings with Stanley Kubrick, and how Jackson will handle leaving Middle Earth, a place he almost didn’t get to visit at all.
JACKSON: So you almost ruined your son’s time by snoring? I once flew coach class from New Zealand to London, and my friends informed me they’d gotten a ticket for the theater at the West End stage. My friend had to elbow me because not only could they see me from the stage, they could probably hear me as well. When I worked as a newspaper photo engraver in the only job I ever had, many years ago, I’d get the train home to Pukerua Bay where I was staying with my parents. An hour ride, 16 stops and almost always I’d have automatic wake-up, seconds before we pulled into my station. Travel makes you tired more than anything, and Friday was my daughter’s 18th birthday and we celebrated here.
DEADLINE: One of those tiny gorgeous kids we watched grow up in glimpses during Lord Of The Rings films?
JACKSON: She was 3 when we made The Fellowship Of The Ring. Katie and Elijah Wood were talking today and they figured out she was 3 when he first met her. She’s 18. Kids, more than anything in life, chart time for us.
DEADLINE: Movies and sports do it, too. It’s easy to be cynical, but I am so charmed by these Comic-Con people and how the proceedings bring out the child versions of themselves. Total lack of cynicism. Do you get to appreciate that still?
JACKSON: There’s a certain reality to me going out now. I’d get six paces, no further, and it would be selfies, and nothing else. In the old days, people asked you to sign something, and half would be too nervous to ask. Now, there’s an aggression to it, like they want you as a trophy on their web page. It’s a social coup to nail you on their cell phone. It changed everything. I get six paces and then can’t walk another. But I went anyway, yesterday, found a way to walk all the way around the convention center.
DEADLINE: How did you manage that?
JACKSON: Oh, I got myself a secret identity. I became the Evil Jester. You can look at the photos on my Facebook page.
Comic-Con: New ‘Arrow’ Villain & Hero Confirmed At WBTV ‘Gotham’ Premiere, ‘Flash’ & ‘Constantine’ Screening (Video)
After lurking as a presence in Arrow throughout the second season, villain Ra’s al Ghul finally will appear in Season 3, as will the hero Wildcat, fans at Comic-Con’s mega-screening for Warner Bros TV and DC Comics properties learned tonight. While his face was not identified, the criminal mastermind was seen in full costume and with a sword in a new preview clip. Following up on a Facebook hint by Arrow lead Stephen Amell that Ted “Wildcat” Grant would join the show, producer Marc Guggenheim tonight confirmed both additions to the hit CW drama. A longtime DC villain, Liam Neeson played the character on the big screen in 2005’s Batman Begins and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.
The Arrow revelations came at the end of the first nighttime presentation for SDCC, screening a smorgasbord of upcoming WBTV shows in massive Hall H.
“You saved the best for last,” said WBTV Marketing chief Lisa Gregorian to the thousands in the hall in kicking off the 3-hour event. The extravaganza not only was a testament to the rise of superheroes but also WB and DC properties. “I remember being at Comic-Con when we were the only DC property on television,” said Amell, the night’s emcee, as he named off The Flash pilot, the world premiere of Batman prequel Gotham, plus a preview of NBC’s new supernatural thriller Constantine and …
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures is setting Edgar Wright to direct Grasshopper Jungle, the acclaimed Andrew Smith YA novel that is being adapted by Beautiful Girls scribe Scott Rosenberg. Rosenberg is producing with Amazing Spider-Man‘s Matt Tolmach and they will be joined by Nira Park, who is at the center of all Wright’s films. Wright, you’ll remember, recently squashed his participation in Ant-Man, the Marvel Studios film that has Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas still starring, because he and Marvel clashed over visions for the wannabe franchise. Wright is staying in insect mode, but moved onto a project that suits his sci-fi sensibility and teams him with Rosenberg, as distinctive a dialogue writer as Wright is a visual director of popcorn films.
Wright’s importance here at Comic-Con wasn’t lost on me yesterday as I walked among the throng and noticed that right between the two men holding the bright yellow signs reminding us we should repent and are going to hell, a guy held an equally bold sign on a wooden stake that read “Edgar Wright Was Right.” Whether that was for him sticking to his guns on his version of Ant-Man or something else, the filmmaker is beloved here. I’ve seen him speak in years past at Marvel panels as the difficult visual effects that will shrink Ant-Man were being harnessed, and last year he was here vamping The World’s End, the alien-attacks-pub-crawlers film that was the third in the Cornetto Trilogy he made with Nick Frost and Simon Pegg.
Grasshopper Jungle, which is best described as Stand By Me meets Attack The Block, seems right in Wright’s wheelhouse. It’s a coming-of-age story that focuses on an Iowa teen trying to come to grips with his own raging hormones and sexual feelings as he and his cohorts cause a deadly genetically engineered plague that unleashes an army of 6-foot-tall praying mantises. Those bugs live the life these guys wish for, acting on an insatiable appetite for fighting, food, and fornicating.
Here’s some food for thought for Comic-Con: Paul Rudnick, the fine playwright and screenwriter of such films as Jeffrey, Addams Family Values and The Stepford Wives, has made a Facebook post on how ever-evolving movie superheroes can really change the spandex game. Under the heading Supergay, he writes:
“Marvel has announced that in an upcoming edition, Thor will be a woman, and that the new Captain America will be black. And while there have been gay superheroes, and Archie Andrews has recently taken a bullet for his gay friend, Kevin, we could still use a re-thinking of a central icon. Because if Superman was gay:
- It would explain the cape.
- Because he’s such a good guy, he’d still save people in the states where he couldn’t get married.
- He’d get really tired of the “So are you seeing Batman?” jokes, especially because they met on Supr, a hookup site for heroes, and it didn’t really click.
Mark Zuckerberg opens Facebook‘s Q2 earnings release with the most generic comment I’ve ever seen from a CEO in a document that companies typically use to hype themselves. “We had a good second quarter,” he says. “Our community has continued to grow, and we see a lot of opportunity ahead as we connect the rest of the world.” The numbers speak louder, I guess: Facebook’s net income of $788M is up 138% vs the period last year on revenues of $2.91B, +60.5%. That beat the $2.81B that analysts expected. Adjusted earnings at 42 cents a share also topped expectations for 32 cents.
The results sent Facebook shares on a ride in post-market trading, up 4%+ after an initial drop. The stock would hit a new high if the increase holds up tomorrow during the trading day.
Matthew Strauss isn’t a household name in Hollywood yet. But he should be, and possibly will be soon. As Comcast Cable’s GM of Video Services, Strauss oversees the cable colossus’ Xfinity cloud-based X1 platform, video on demand, TV Everywhere, and — starting last year — sales of digitally downloadable movies and TV shows (known as Electronic Sell Through). In other words, he leads the cable industry’s counter-offensive as digital services led by Netflix and ad-zapping DVRs make inroads with pay TV consumers.
Studios and networks are taking notice, and striking deals with Strauss that push the boundaries of technology, and traditional business practices. For example, Comcast and FX have just begun to let VOD customers watch episodes of The Bridge a week before they appear on the channel itself. Deadline caught up with Strauss to find out the latest about that experiment and others that could reshape the medium. Here are his thoughts, edited for length and clarity.
DEADLINE: VOD has been one of Comcast’s top initiatives. Where do things stand?
STRAUSS: I have a long history with VOD. I’ve been working on this for almost 13 years now. About 70% of our digital subscribers use on demand every single month, and by the end of this year we’ll have 200,000 hours of on-demand content available. We surpassed our 30 billionth program viewed on demand last year. So this is something that has gone from almost an infancy, novelty kind of product and now is deeply entrenched. For the first time we now have the top 100 rated Nielsen shows …
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 …
CBS‘ new drama series Madam Secretary, in which Tea Leoni plays the Secretary of State, came about because of Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, exec producer Lori McCreary told TV critics today at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014.
McCreary said she and Morgan Freeman had lunch with CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler about producing a scripted series for the network, after which, McCreary says, they set about “trying to come up with a great character…And then, guess what happened — the Benghazi hearings,” McCreary said. They went back to Tassler with the idea of a series about what it’s like to be the female Secretary of State, “and how it translates overseas when rights for women are not what they are here,” she said. Tassler introduced them to Joan Of Arcadia creator Barbara Hall, who “took that kernel of an idea” and ran with it.
The creators of web series about a foul-mouthed teddy bear with a penchant for drinking, smoking and prostitutes has filed a copyright infringement suit against Seth MacFarlane, Universal Pictures and the producers of Ted, the 2012 film about a foul-mouthed teddy bear with a penchant for drinking, smoking and prostitutes. Bengal Mangle Productions claims that Ted “is an unlawful copy” of its own animated teddy, who was featured in two different web series, Charlie The Abusive Teddy and Acting School Academy. The suit (read it here), filed today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, states that those web series aired in 2009 and 2010 on You Tube, FunnyOrDie.com and other streaming websites.
“Both Charlie and Ted reside in a substantially similar environment, including that both Charlie and Ted spend a significant amount of time sitting on a living room couch with a beer and/or cigarette in hand,” the suit claims. “Charlie and Ted each have a substantially similar persona, verbal tone, verbal delivery, dialogue, and attitude.”
UPDATED, Monday, 4:56 PM: Saturday’s panel with Secretary of State John Kerry and interviewer Charlie Rose went off without a hitch after some technical problems the previous day, but listening about the conflicts in the Middle East was not as interesting to moguls (‘what else is new, it’s a mess over there’) as the panel that featured billionaire investor Warren Buffet and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, according to some in attendance. Bezos, whose company Amazon has become a powerhouse in publishing and is creating its own content now, told the group gathered that the Amazon business model in publishing and creating content is here to stay. While the panels are always greatly attended, some of those who sat through the first few said they were a bit dry and boring, but “Buffet is always interesting to listen to,” said one attendee. Said another, “All the networking is really done in the first day … unless you’re Jeffrey Katzenberg lining up meetings every hour.” Added another, “He sits there and does one meeting after another … he must have had like 20 meetings.” Yes, DreamWorks Animation’s Katzenberg was doing his ‘speed-dating’ meetings near the duck pond as usual which had some entertainment moguls laughing and others rolling their eyes (‘He has like what? One movie in the marketplace?’ Does he know how silly it looks?).
On Saturday, too, were presentations from the younger entreprenuers of Lookout, Xapo and Lending Club, which another attendee said he thought was fantastic (‘The guy from Lookout looked like he was 16 years old’). Also interesting to one attendee was the education panel with Eva Sarah Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools and Kaya Henderson who is the D.C. school superintendent. “They were really good together and kept everyone’s interest.” That panel took place last Thursday.
The five-day Sun Valley retreat wrapped up last night with the annual dinner hosted by Herb Allen, whose aserbic wit and self-deprecating humor was enjoy by all. In reference to the panel earlier in the week that featured producer Brian Grazer and TWC’s Harvey Weinstein talking about the creative process, one attendee noted that “Brian really hit the mark on it. He was pitch perfect. If he did that same speech in showbiz circles it might not resonate but it did with most of people who were not in the business.’” One of the things that they both suggested was to listen to the voices in your head and get in touch with your instinct, which Allen use as a set up for a joke at the Sunday night dinner: “I have the voices in my head. I just don’t know what to do with them yet.” Until next year …
3RD UPDATE, FRIDAY, 2:50 PM: People actually enjoyed the Michael Bloomberg panel today at the Herb Allen Sun Valley conference as the 72-year-old answered questions from journalist Willow Bay, wife of Disney’s Robert Iger. The former mayor of New York whose fight for reasonable gun laws is well-documented, spoke about his philanthropy efforts and giving back to society. Through Bloomberg Philanthropies, the billionaire does just that in the areas of education, the arts, gun issues, governance and public health. He spoke about how dysfunctional the current U.S. system is politically and otherwise to get things done — no doubt as he personally saw what happened behind the scenes in Washington D.C. as politicians in the pocket of the NRA stymied efforts to get background checks on gun sales passed. Leave it to a politician — an orator and a former Eagle scout (hey, it’s no small task) — to wake up the moguls.
The second panel, which was supposed to feature Charlie Rose interviewing Secretary of State John Kerry piped in live from Afghanistan, went awry as the video feed didn’t work (they tried for about 15 minutes to get it up and running to no avail). That conversation, which was expected to be about how heavily the U.S. should be involved in the current explosive situation in the Middle East, will now take place tomorrow after journalist Becky Quick interviews Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos.
So they are attempting to fix the video feed for tomorrow, but let’s face it, if it doesn’t work, we doubt anyone will be upset as Kerry drones … on and on. Speaking of drones, there has been some attempt to make sure that drones don’t fly over the conference taking pictures, according to Bloomberg News. Ahhh, technology … the age of the paparazzi drone? If people are still awake after Kerry and Rose, a number of younger entrepreneurs will have their turn at bat.
Most all we spoke with don’t expect any major deals to go down at this conference. That
Box Office: ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Swings With $72.6M Weekend; ‘Boyhood’ Mans Up With Strong Per Screen
UPDATED, Monday 1:57 PM: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, brought in, as we reported this AM a total take of $72.6M for the three-day weekend (which included $4.1M in Thursday late nights). This, after it took in $31.3M overseas so it has a worldwide total of $103M+ already and it has barely begun its international run.
The Matt Reeves-directed film had a wonderful Saturday and ended up with an A- CinemaScore so audiences loved it as much as the critics. Sunday moviegoing was off for all films, probably due to the World Cup Finals and the nice weather. Fox’s other film, How to Train Your Dragon 2 had a great hold from Saturday to Sunday but will be hit by Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue when it bows next weekend. Apes should have at least two solid weeks of play before audiences look to Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy to keep them entertained when it bows on August 1. Transformers: Age of Extinction — in its third weekend of release — crossed $200M on Saturday.
Sony opens Sex Tape next weekend in hopes of making it pop over its estimated $42M+ budget. I’ve seen it and yes, it starts out raunchy, but it is really funny and even, at times, hilarious. The guys will go to see a naked Cameron Diaz and the girls will go see tall drink of water Jason Segel, but it’s really for couples. Rob Lowe also co-stars in this film from the next generation Kasden — Jake — who directed the two in Bad Teacher.
The other movie opening next weekend is Universal’s horror film, The Purge: Anarchy. And, after seeing the one-sheet, I certainly hope they aren’t running those teaser one-sheets reminiscent of the Joker around the Cinemark Theater in Colorado where it will be in the marketplace during the two-year mark of the theater shooting. To me and others who suffered through that, it’s a hard image to look at … sort of like the geniuses who came up with The Strain one-sheets that people don’t want to see either. “Not for everyone.” Indeed. The Purge is bowing today and over the weekend in 14 overseas markets. The chart follows:
Starz is making the first episode of its new series Outlander available in its entirety for free to viewers, beginning August 2, in advance of its worldwide premiere August 9 at 9 PM. The episode will be available on multiple TV and online platforms nationwide. The network said in advance of its TCA session today that first season of the series will be split in two, with the first eight episodes running over eight consecutive Saturdays through September 27; the second half of the 16-episode order is scheduled to continue in early 2015. Outlander is adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling books and executive produced by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica).
Starz estimates about 82 million multichannel video households will have access to the premiere episode via additional linear, on-demand and/or online sampling opportunities on select cable, satellite and telco affiliates in the U.S. as well as online through select websites including Starz.com/Outlander, the Starz Outlander Twitter page, the Starz YouTube page, Starz Outlander Facebook Page and the free STARZ PLAY app for all U.S.-based users.
UPDATE: Marketing pulled a Jesse and hit the nitrous early with a Facebook post this a.m. celebrating the final shot filmed on Fast & Furious 7. “…about to cross the finishing line… Social media likes to jump the gun. #stillfilming,” director James Wan (@creepypuppet) Tweeted this afternoon, hours after the pre-planned announcement hit social media. A studio source confirms that the pic indeed wraps today.
PREVIOUS: It’s been a long and emotional road for Fast & Furious 7, which had its premiere postponed from this weekend’s original release date to April 2015 following the death of Paul Walker. Now the Universal sequel has wrapped its Los Angeles shoot under director James Wan, with the help of Walker’s brothers Caleb and Cody. Universal’s official Fast 7 Facebook page today thanked fans for riding with them in what’s been a vocal and loyal campaign of support through the pic’s tumultuous production. The post, accompanied by a shot of star Vin Diesel, has garnered over 120K Facebook likes in just a few hours from the Fast & Furious “family” of social media-connected fans. Last week Uni sped up the pic’s release to April 3, 2015. Here’s the note:
We made it.
Today we completed the last shot in the production of FAST & FURIOUS 7.
We wanted to take this moment to express how thankful we are for your support. We felt the love and strength from our fans throughout this journey, and it’s because of you that we got here.
There was a time when we didn’t know how we could go on, or even if we should. But we listened to you, and you inspired us not only to keep going but to try and make the best FAST & FURIOUS movie yet.
“Some jobs are just too hideous to contemplate,” Mike Rowe told TV critics of their work at Summer TV Press Tour 2014. In fairness, he was asked. Rowe came to the tour to plug CNN’s new series Somebody’s Gotta Do It in which he hangs out with men and women to learn about their offbeat hobbies, passions and jobs.
“I don’t understand how your brains work,” he told TV critics, noting he’d just posted to Facebook photos of the rattlesnake and the power plant surrounded by live wire that he ran into yesterday, followed by a photo of the Summer TV Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton hotel, with the comment “My week is becoming progressively more dangerous.”
Once again, HBO led all networks in Emmy nominations this year, and it wasn’t even close. Here’s a look at HBO’s noms haul in the past decade, followed by a breakdown in who got what this year.
NOMINATIONS BY NETWORK
HBO – 99
CBS – 47
NBC – 46
FX Networks – 45
ABC – 37
PBS – 34
Netflix – 31
AMC – 26
Showtime – 24
Comedy Central – 21
Lifetime – 17
National Geographic Channel – 15
Starz – 11
Discovery Channel – 10