As Disney CEO Bob Iger introduced former Fox properties to the Disney discipline, Fox Searchlight appeared to be an outlier. Earlier this year, co-chairmen Claudia Lewis and Steve Giulula said things were “business as usual;” indeed, the label will release new films by Wes Anderson and Armando Iannucci in 2020, and production began this week on the Michael Shower’s “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”
However, on Thursday Iger revealed that he plans to tap Fox Searchlight to create original content for Hulu — showing there’s no such thing as “business as usual” as the streaming wars accelerate.
Searchlight is developing “original content” that will land on Hulu, Iger said, offering no details about what that might include. But it’s likely such productions could go straight-to-streaming, which would push Searchlight — known for its awards titles — in an adjacent path to Disney’s other film efforts.
There’s no suggestion that Searchlight would abandon its awards-fodder bread and butter. The studio has earned an impressive four Best Picture Oscars in 25 years, most recently Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” in 2017. Disney’s film output is almost entirely devoted to tentpoles; Searchlight could be its counter to the creative environment developed by chief streaming competitor Netflix, which is spending big on awards contenders like “Marriage Story” and “The Irishman.”
During Disney’s Q4 earnings call Thursday, Iger said his company acquired 20th Century Fox for the value it brings to the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming strategy: the family-oriented Disney+, which launches next week; the more adult-skewing Hulu; and ESPN+, the definitive subscription for cord-cutting sports fans.
Although the Disney+ debut is less than a week away, on the call Iger brought much of his energy to Hulu. It’s part of a $13 bundle that includes Disney+ and ESPN+, as part of the company’s Netflix-killing strategy. However, the Hulu in that package comes with commercials.
“Hulu is a significant driver of advertising revenue and continues to be,” Iger said. “The value of an ad-supported Hulu subscriber, given the ad revenue that it drives, is very, very high.”
Fox currently has an HBO output deal, which means that Searchlight’s 200-film library won’t be available for Disney’s Hulu until 2022; a previous iteration of the pact was worth $1 billion over 10 years. It would be natural for those movies to head to Hulu when the deal expires; on the other hand, thats a a lot of money. On the call, Iger said it was “premature to speculate.”
Hulu currently has output deals with Annapurna, Neon, IFC Films, and Bleecker Street, making it a go-to place for indies like “I, Tonya,” and “Sorry to Bother You” — films that would be right at home alongside episodes of FX’s “Pose” and “Archer.”
Fox Searchlight also has been on a buying spree of short films this year, including the Oscar-nominated “Skin.” Co-president Nancy Utley told IndieWire in February that the shorts would play well on the studio’s YouTube channel, playing down any connection between the buys and possible subscription streaming placement.
Of course, it’s even more likely that short films could succeed on Hulu. But that was before the acquisition, when things looked much different in Hollywood.
FX programming is officially coming to Hulu. With the blessing of Disney, their shared parent company, the basic cable network and streaming titan have partnered to not only stream FX’s originals library, but FX will also produce shows for Hulu, including four series set to launch in 2020.
Disney CEO Bob Iger discussed FX's streaming shift during the Mouse’s fourth quarter earnings call Thursday. “FX on Hulu” will launch in March, featuring more than 40 of FX's new and existing shows, in addition to new original series. New episodes of current FX series will hit Hulu the day after their linear premiere, Iger said during the call.
The upcoming original shows moving from FX to Hulu include “Mrs. America” starring Cate Blanchett, “Devs” Alex Garland’s first series, “A Teacher” Hannah Fidell’s adaptation of her 2013 film, and “The Old Man” starring Jeff Bridges. These shows, developed at FX, will no longer air on the cable channel. They will stream via “FX on Hulu.”
“We're excited to become the official streaming home to the award-winning current and legacy series that FX has produced over nearly two decades, as well as brand-new original series that will be exclusive to Hulu subscribers — all available through 'FX on Hulu,'” Hulu CEO Randy Freer said in a statement. “FX has solidified its position as a premium brand that consumers are passionate about, and we can't wait to bring its valuable content offering to our customers, all in one place.”
“We're thrilled to have Hulu as our streaming partner with the creation of FX on Hulu, which will be the best and most complete representation of the FX brand, finally putting us on equal footing with competitors like HBO,” FX Chairman John Landgraf said in a statement. “This will allow us to expand FX's original programming lineup and to reach Hulu's growing audience of young and highly engaged subscribers, whom we believe will love these shows. We are more committed than ever to quality over quantity, with our primary focus on excellence that can cut through the clutter at a time of unprecedented consumer choice. This is a game-changing opportunity for FX, and we can't wait to embark on this journey with Randy and his great Hulu team.”
“Mrs. America” is a limited series from Stacey Sher “Pulp Fiction”, Dahvi Waller “Mad Men”, and Cate Blanchett that will tell the story of the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and the unexpected backlash led by a conservative woman named Phyllis Schlafly Blanchett. The cast also features Rose Byrne, Elizabeth Banks, Uzo Aduba, Margo Martindale, Sarah Paulson, John Slattery and Tracey Ullman. Waller will write the show, while executive producers include Sher, Waller, Coco Francini, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Blanchett. Micah Schraft and James Skotchdopole will co-executive produce the series.
“Devs” is a thriller that centers on Lily Chan Sonoya Mizuno, a young software engineer who works for a cutting-edge Silicon Valley tech company. After an incident involving her boyfriend, Chan suspects foul play, and her investigation leads her to Forest Nick Offerman, the CEO of her company, and its secret development division. What results is a technology conspiracy that could have global implications. Additional stars include Jin Ha and Allison Pill. Alex Garland will executive produce the limited series alongside Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich, Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, and Garrett Basch.
“Devs” and “Mrs. America” will debut in spring 2020.
FX on Hulu's limited series “A Teacher,” from writer/director Hannah Fidell, is based on her film of the same name, will explore an intimate connection between a Claire Kate Mara, a female high school teacher and Eric Nick Robinson, an underage male student. Fidell will executive produce the 10-episode series alongside Michael Costigan, Jason Bateman, Danny Brocklehurst, and Mara.
The fourth original project, “The Old Man,” based on the novel by Thomas Perry, is a drama starring Jeff Bridges as Dan Chase, a retired CIA officer who is living off the grid. After an assassin attempts to take Chase out, the operative must reconcile his past to safeguard his future. Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine are writing the series, which is executive produced by Warren Littlefield, Steinberg, Dan Shotz, Levine, Bridges, and David Schiff.
Release dates for “A Teacher” and “The Old Man” were not provided, though production on the latter's pilot episode was slated to begin this fall.
FX and Hulu announced the partnership a few days before the launch of Disney's Disney+ streaming service, which hits the market Tuesday.
Well, it’s happened. There are so many streaming services now we have to round-up the news about them into one big post. I hope you’re happy. Here’s what’s new on the streaming service front: Apple TV+ has launched, but no one seems to care. But hey, Apple just renewed a bunch of shows anyway. Disney+, meanwhile, is about to kick-off in the U.S., but won’t arrive in the U.K. until March. And finally, if you have an older Samsung Smart TV, you might not be able to watch Netflix in December.
Apple TV+’s Soft Launch
Hey, did you know Apple TV+ is live? More than a few people seem to be unaware of this fact, and it’s showing. Parrot Analytics examined the 24-hour period following the Apple TV+ launch, then compared it against the same demand levels following the release of all the other new streaming titles debuting in 2019 via Variety. The results weren’t great. Of all the Apple TV+ shows, only one – See – cracked the top 20.
The Morning Show, perhaps the most high-profile series on Apple TV+, seems to have performed the worst. Ouch. Despite all this, Apple has gone ahead and renewed almost everything. They actually revealed this news weeks ago, but for some reason, it’s making the rounds again today. According to THR, Dickinson, See, and For All Mankind and The Morning Show have all been given second seasons.
Disney+ Across the Pond and Beyond
Disney+ goes live in the U.S. on November 12, but there’s been no word about other countries – until now. Disney has confirmed that on March 31 the service will be live in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, with more locations announced soon.
Just announced: #DisneyPlus will be available in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and more to be announced soon starting on March 31st. Please note: Titles may vary by territory. pic.twitter.com/lE6nzBeaXy
— Disney+ @disneyplus November 7, 2019
Netflix Woes for Smart TVs
Do you have a Samsung Smart TV from 2010 and 2011? If so, you might run into some trouble next month trying to watch Netflix. Samsung has announced that “Due to technical limitations, Netflix will no longer be supported on 2010 and 2011 TVs beginning on December 1st, 2019.” They add:
If you have one of the affected models, you may see a message on your TV indicating that Netflix will no longer be available on this device. You’ll still be able to watch Netflix on your TV by connecting another device with Netflix on it.
Although some of our older TV’s 2010 and 2011 models, with C or D after the screen size in the model code will no longer support Netflix directly beginning December 1st, 2019, many other devices you may have connected to your TV are still supported. You can find a list from Netflix at netflix.com/compatibledevices. As long as you have one of the supported devices, like a game console, streaming media player, or set-top box, you’ll still be able to watch Netflix on your TV
So head’s up. And hey, Black Friday deals are coming. Why not splurge on a new TV anyway? That’s how capitalism works, baby!
On the November 7, 2019 episode of /Film Daily, /Film editor-in-chief Peter Sciretta is joined by /Film managing editor Jacob Hall, weekend editor Brad Oman, senior writer Ben Pearson and writers Hoai-Tran Bui and Chris Evangelista to discuss what they’ve been up to at the Water Cooler.
>At The Water Cooler: What we’ve been Doing: Peter went to the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival, and you can watch it on video. He also went to Disneyland to check out all the new Christmas merch and Kitra built a BB-unit droid in Galaxy’s Edge. Jacob bought a new hat. Ben saw a Live Read of Brian K. Vaughan’s Roundtable and attended a Q&A for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood What we’ve been Reading: Ben read The Photography of Game of Thrones Hoai-Tran read a webcomic Lore Olympus. What we’ve been Watching: Peter and Brad watched the first episodes of The Imagineering Story, The World According to Jeff Goldblum, and Marvel Hero Project. Brad watched the first episodes of High School Musical: The Musical, The Series, and Encore! Peter and Brad caught up on Watchmen. Jacob watched The Gallows Act II and the new Jeopardy! collections on Netflix Chris finally saw Parasite and also Midway. Ben did the strangest double feature ever with The Haunting and Little Women 1994, watched the first two episodes of Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, and saw Last Christmas Peter watched a lot of AppleTV+ screeners. First he wants to talk about the poll and the horrible UI. He watched the entire season of The Morning Show, saw all but the last two episodes of For All Mankind, and tried to watch See. He also started watching Danny Elfman’s Masterclass. He’s also watching Survivor, where the last episode had a heated argument over the sexism of the idea of an all-woman alliance. Brad also watched first episode of Queer Eye: We’re In Japan, Little Mermaid Live. Caught The Lighthouse, Countdown and Terminator: Dark Fate. Hoai-Tran did a Halloween double feature of Dial M for Murder and Train to Busan, watched The Apartment, Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2U, and rewatched His Girl Friday. What we’ve been Eating: Brad tried Fried Onion Ring flavored Pringles, Sweet Cinnamon Kit Kats, Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream, Krispy Kreme Pie Donuts, and is glad Merry Mash-Up Mountain Dew and White Fudge Covered Oreos are back. What we’ve been Playing: Peter is trying to give 1.5x speed Podcast listening another chance. Jacob only wants to play Crokinole right now.
All the other stuff you need to know:
You can find more about all the stories we mentioned on today’s show at slashfilm.com, and linked inside the show notes. /Film Daily is published every weekday, bringing you the most exciting news from the world of movies and television as well as deeper dives into the great features from slashfilm.com. You can subscribe to /Film Daily on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the popular podcast apps RSS. Send your feedback, questions, comments and concerns to us at [email protected] Please leave your name and general geographic location in case we mention the e-mail on the air. Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes, tell your friends and spread the word! Thanks to Sam Hume for our logo. Source: Slashfilm.com
Not too long ago, Disney put up their awards consideration pages for the films they hope will land some nominations from the Oscars, Golden Globes and other important Hollywood organizations. When it came to Avengers: Endgame, the usual ambition was there for Best Picture, Best Director, and a slew of technical awards. But there was one surprising exclusion.
Robert Downey Jr. previously confirmed that he opted not to campaign for any acting awards for his farewell performance as Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame. This was surprising to fans since his final turn as the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist and superhero felt like a performance that may have been worthy of at least a nomination. It appears Disney agreed and whether or not Downey intends to campaign for an Oscar, they’re going to do it for him. Robert Downey Jr. is included in the addition of consideration for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress categories that feature several other Avengers: Endgame cast members too.
Here’s Disney’s updated list of hopeful nominees that will be up for awards consideration this season:
As you can see, none of the Avengers: Endgame cast members were put up in the lead actor or lead actress categories. That makes perfect sense since the ensemble cast is so big that they all have a pretty even amount of screentime. Plus, the competition will likely be less fierce in those categories. However, just because Disney is putting forth these names for nominations doesn’t mean that any of them have a good chance at landing a nomination. But let’s talk about which ones could possibly be contenders.
Not to be disrespectful to any of these actors and actresses, but right out of the gate, I don’t think there’s any chance that Paul Rudd, Don Cheadle, Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Brie Larson, Zoe Saldana, or Gwyneth Paltrow will be getting nominations. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all great in their respective roles, and each has a solid emotional beat in the movie, but none of them feel like Oscar worthy performances as a whole. Plus, Ruffalo and Brolin have the disadvantage of playing motion capture characters, and the Academy still hasn’t figured out how to properly register those performances alongside traditional roles on film.
Somewhat more likely but still almost certainly not getting Oscar nominations are Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner. Though the two share some of the most touching and heartwrenching moments in Endgame, Renner is currently dealing with some peculiar personal issues and likely won’t be at the forefront of any Oscar campaigning. Furthermore, if Scarlett Johansson is going to get any Oscar nominations this year, it will probably be for Jojo Rabbit or Marriage Story.
However, there are four Avengers: Endgame cast members that I could see being worthy of a nomination, even if they’re still unlikely to end up with one. Robert Downey Jr. is one of them for obvious reasons, but I think we’re all forgetting just how great Chris Hemsworth is in this movie. He shows an incredible range of emotion as a superhero suffering from PTSD, often turning his emotions on a dime, and I would be psyched if he ended up earning at least a nomination. Meanwhile, both Chris Evans and Karen Gillan turned in admirable performances. The latter has a surprisingly integral and emotional character arc in this movie, and the former continues to be the backbone of this entire franchise. Either one of them could have enough standout moments to land a nomination, but I’m not sure
Of course, the Oscars are very competitive, and they’re not always about who really gave the best performance. Furthermore, The Academy hasn’t fully embraced superhero movies as being award worthy just yet. That tradition wavered a bit for Black Panther, but that felt like a unique circumstance in which the achievement for bringing such a culturally diverse superhero movie to the table was likely what drew voters to support the movie.
Then again, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King ended up getting some awards love and sweeping every award it was nominated for, largely in support of the overall achievement of the entire trilogy from Peter Jackson. Perhaps something similar could happen here as a way of paying tribute to the success of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’ll find out over the next few months.
Avengers: Endgame made a ton of money, but will it win a ton of awards?
Last month, we reported that Disney is pushing the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for multiple categories at the 2020 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. But conspicuously absent were any Best Actor/Supporting Actor and Best Actress/Supporting Actress submissions, especially for Robert Downey, Jr., who gave a “profound performance,” according to Joe Russo, and “if that doesn’t deserve an Oscar, I don’t know what does.” Disney has since updated Endgame‘s For Your Consideration page, and it includes RDJ, along with many of his co-stars:
Best Supporting Actor
Robert Downey, Jr. Chris Evans Mark Ruffalo Chris Hemsworth Jeremy Renner Josh Brolin Paul Rudd Don Cheadle
Best Supporting Actress
Scarlett Johansson Gwyneth Paltrow Zoe Saldana Karen Gillan Brie Larson
I saw 14,600,005 possible outcomes of the coming Oscars conflict; in only one is anyone listed above actually going to be nominated for an Oscar. But it’s fun to speculate nonetheless! It’s also fun to see who was left out. All the original Avengers are there, and Brie Larson and Josh Brolin make sense, but where’s Tom Holland? And Benedict Cumberbatch? They’re big names playing popular characters. My guess: Disney only included actors playing characters who weren’t “blipped.” That leaves out Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Bucky, Shuri, and Black Panther, among others.