There appears to be a trend here that might disturb studios that released family films with the expectation of seeing a windfall from licensed merchandise sales. The new pre-holiday recommendations from Toys ‘R Us (it lists its “Fabulous 15″) and Walmart (it has 23 items it says were “Chosen by Kids”) feature TV characters including Disney Junior’s Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins, Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Sesame Street’s Elmo. But when it comes to films, Toys ‘R Us suggests one from Universal’s Despicable Me 2, and Walmart has something from Disney’s Planes — but there’s nothing from DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo, Fox’s Epic, Pixar’s Monsters University, or Sony’s Smurfs 2. It’s a sign of a larger trend says International Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association SVP Marty Brochstein. “TV seems to be grabbing more of the attention and shelf space,” he says. Some film properties were hurt by the summer’s animation glut. Read More »
BREAKING: Paramount Pictures has split up two movies that figure to pack a merchandising punch. The studio just moved from June 6, 2014 to August 8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Nickelodeon Movies/Platinum Dunes franchise re-launch. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: He’s not playing a turtle in Paramount’s reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but William Fichtner is on board for the movie. Details on the actor’s role are sketchy, but Fichtner is said to … Read More »
Here’s more proof that Wall Street has freed Viacom from the penalty box following last year’s steep ratings declines at Nickelodeon and MTV. The stock’s up 2.5% in late morning trading — and touched a record $65.25 — after Nomura Equity Research’s Michael Nathanson and RBC Capital Markets’ David Bank said that trends are improving for the entertainment giant. Nickelodeon’s ratings rose 1% in Q1 and with new shows including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles establishing themselves “we expect that the ratings momentum at Nick should continue,” Nathanson says. That could pay off if, as the analyst expects, studios boost spending to promote new movies later this year. If that happens and Nick’s ratings continue to improve then it “can likely take back some [advertising] market share from Cartoon Network,” he says. Bank’s upbeat case for Viacom goes beyond Nickelodeon. He says that ratings momentum “accelerated in roughly half of Viacom’s ad revenue portfolio” including Nick At Nite, BET, and Comedy Central. What’s more, he says MTV should look a lot better when year-over-year comparisons no longer include Jersey Shore, which ended its run late last year. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Now that Paramount and Platinum Dunes has set Megan Fox as the female lead in the Jonathan Liebesman-directed live-action/CGI feature Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, they are working on the turtles. First to be cast: Alan … Read More »
Paramount said that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, originally scheduled for wide release on May 16, 2014, will now open three weeks later, on June 6. For now, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has the date to itself. … Read More »
UPDATED: At the Nickelodeon upfront presentation in New York this afternoon, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said that the kids cable network, which has gone through some rough times lately, “has hit the reset button” and is “reinventing itself.” There will be a big investment in animation, including the company’s upcoming feature offshoots of Nick toon series, the SpongeBob Square Pants 3D movie and the Michael Bay-directed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, both slated for a 2014 release. Coincidentally, Nick’s upfront announcements today were all in the animation arena — a series pickup for Breadwinners, a new animated series based on the animated short by animator Gary “Doodles” DiRaffaele and writer Steve Borst (Mad), and a third season renewal for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. DiRaffaele and Borst, who came from Nickelodeon’s Animation Shorts Program, are also behind the Nickelodeon series about two booty-shaking ducks, which has received a 20-episode order. (watch the short below). Breadwinners joins recently picked up new live-action series The Haunted Hathaways, The Thundermans and Sam & Cat.
During the presentation, Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami acknowledged that the network has had a “tough year” where “new competitors came on strong,” a reference to upstart Disney Jr. She outlined the network’s strategy for getting back on track by targetting “post-millennial kids,” born in and after 2008. Read More »
Looks like Michael Bay doesn’t hold a grudge. He’s just announced via his blog that Megan Fox will star in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the live-action/CGI feature from producer Bay, his Platinum Dunes and Paramount. Jonathan … Read More »
This is worth noting considering how important Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is to the turnaround story at Nickelodeon, and Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman’s eagerness to accelerate sales of consumer products based on his company’s properties. The partners … Read More »
Brown Johnson, president of animation for Nickelodeon, announced today at TCA that the new animated comedy series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will premiere … Read More »
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman doesn’t sound anything like Dwight Eisenhower, but he seems to to have the architect of D-Day in mind when he talks about his broad plan to invade retail shelves with licensed merchandise. At Paramount, “for the most part we’re going to greenlight films with consumer products potential,” he told investors today at the Nomura U.S. Media & Telecom Summit. That’s key to his goal for Paramount to “focus on profitability” especially by integrating with other Viacom businesses. He’s particularly excited about Viacom’s plans to relaunch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which Viacom bought for $60M in 2009. The characters will appear in an animated series on Nickelodeon this fall and in a film on Christmas 2013. ”Everybody knows the history of it and are excited by the way it’s been reinvented,” Dauman says. “Once you get that strength at the retailer level, it allows you to layer in more properties.” It also ties in with his plan to develop new programs — and marketable characters — to help revive Nickelodeon from its ratings slump. “Nickelodeon will show improvement and it won’t take that long,” he says. Dauman adds that his interest in retail sales contributed to his decision to buy a stake in an Italian animation company with the popular Winx Club franchise, which has “good consumer products for girls.” Read More »
BREAKING: Paramount has shaken up its release schedule, dating the Jonathan Liebesman-directed live action-CGI combo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Christmas, 2013.
The studio has moved the Christopher McQuarrie-directed Tom Cruise-starrer … Read More »
I don’t know whether Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone’s appearance at this morning’s 45-minute annual meeting will do enough to end the speculation that the 88-year-old majority shareholder is becoming frail. Although he showed up — something he briefly said last week that he couldn’t do, due to a scheduling conflict — attendees couldn’t see him walk to or from the dais. When the meeting began the company pulled back a curtain to show Redstone, CEO Philippe Dauman, and General Counsel Michael Fricklas seated at a table. The curtain closed on Redstone when the event ended. He appeared moderately engaged throughout the session, after reading from a prepared statement. Paraphrasing “my very good friend Mark Twain, who couldn’t be here today,” he said, “my absence from this meeting has been greatly exaggerated.”
Dauman then led the session. He said that Paramount yesterday greenlighted a 3D movie with singer Katy Perry, to be called Part Of Me, that will be released this summer. He also acknowledged that plans are in the works for another Mission: Impossible sequel. Dauman said that cable channel Nick Jr will introduce a “Nick Mom” evening programming block beginning this fall. And he says that he’s enthusiastic about the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series launching on Nickelodeon later this year — to be followed by a Paramount film due out by the end of 2013. Dauman added that the company plans a global consumer products initiative for the franchise. “It’ll be a big hit,” he says. Read More »
UPDATE, 8:50 AM: Listen up Occupy Wall Streeters: Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman told analysts that the company is doing better than ever financially – yet is still cutting jobs. It reported a $130M restructuring charge in the … Read More »
After the writing team of Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec revived one Paramount franchise with their script for Mission: Impossible –Ghost Protocol, the studio has tapped them to rewrite another franchise Paramount is hoping to resuscitate. They will next go … Read More »
Nickelodeon is announcing today during its upfront in New York that it has set a date for the original TV movie fusing two of its biggest live-action hits, iCarly and Victorious. The movie, iParty with Victorious, is set to premiere June 10 and kick … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, and Andrew Form have moved their genre-making production company to WME. It’s a return to the fold after moving from WME and spending the last year at CAA. WME reps Bay as a director.
The move comes at a time when Platinum Dunes is moving into bigger budget fare after signing a first-look deal at Paramount Pictures. On their first seven films, Platinum Dunes averaged $18 million per film; the priciest was $30 million. They’ve had an enviable track record for covering their bets. Six of those films grossed their budgets on opening weekends, and two did so on opening night. Most were remakes of fright classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror, The Hitcher, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I hear that Paramount has hired the writing team of Art Marcum and Matt Holloway for close to $1 million to reimagine a new release of the live action … Read More »