Golden Globe Nominees Announced

Nominations have been announced for the 76th Annual Golden Globes, which will air on January 6, 2019, co-hosted by Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg. Leading the field is Vice with six nominations, followed by The Favourite, Green Book, and A Star Is Born, each receiving five nominations.

Photo from Deadline

The nominees for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy include Vice, Green Book and The Favourite. Christian Bale brings Dick Cheney to life in Vice and offers viewers a look into the second highest office in the nation. Bale received a nod for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for this performance. The Favourite falls back to 18th century England and follows a frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) and her friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) as they navigate politics in wartorn England. Audiences return to the segregated south in Green Book following Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) as he works for famous African American pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali). Despite their differences, the two become friends as they experience injustices during their journey.

Despite restructuring efforts over the last year, Annapurna walked away with 10 nominations for their pictures. Fox Searchlight also earned 10 nominations, including one for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Motion Picture – Animated. Last year, Fox won the Oscar for Best Picture with The Shape of Water.

Photo from Deadline

Surprises came with nominates for Amazon’s Bodyguard, the BBC’s America’s Killing Eve, and Fox’s Pose and The Americans. Some feel Hulu’s popular original drama, The Handmaid’s Tale, was snubbed since it wasn’t nominated for Best Drama Series, though Elisabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski picked up acting nods for the show. Additionally the NBC favorite, This Is Us, didn’t earn a single nomination. Other snubs included Emma Stone being passed over for her work in Netflix’s Maniac as well as Chadwick Boseman and Michael B Jordan, stars of Best Motion Picture Nominee Black Panther, not earning nominations for their performances.

Winners of these categories and others will be announced January 6 on NBC starting at 8PM EST. View the complete list of nominees here.

YouTube Joins Streaming Wars

As traditional cable services see declining revenue due to online streaming services a new question has emerged – which streaming service will come out on top? Familiar faces, such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, remain tough competition for newcomers like HBO and CBS All Access, and most recently, YouTube. YouTube is best known as a platform for users to share amusing videos, media reviews and educational materials, however, it recently announced that it will be providing free access to full length films on the site, with ad breaks, to consumers.

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Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Many attribute YouTube’s decision to offer feature films for free as a way for the platform to compete with other streaming services while still bringing in revenue through ads. The free to watch movie selection includes cult classics and past blockbuster hits including many Rocky films, The Terminator, and Legally Blonde. Expansion plans are in the works, according to the to Rohit Dhawan, the director of product management at YouTube.

“Eventually, there could be a way for advertisers to pay to sponsor individual movies, giving user complimentary views and exclusive screenings,” Dhawan told Ad Age. “However that all pretty much depends on how studios evolve their businesses to account for these new digital streaming windows that are opening up.”

More feature films are expected to be added to the free to stream service soon, but the current list of free movies is available here.

Since 2005, YouTube has brought videos to viewers around the world, with more than 5 billion videos being watched on a daily basis. Over the years YouTube has experimented with several paid membership options, including Music Key, YouTube Red and most recently YouTube Premium. Music Key was a short lived program that offered members ad-free music videos. In 2015, YouTube revised the Music Key platform to make all videos ad free for paid members under a new program called YouTube Red.

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Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Just this year YouTube rebranded the program once again to YouTube Premium. On June 18, YouTube Premium launched alongside a re-launch of Music Key, now known as YouTube Music. Little changed in terms of product offerings with this launch, other than the price — increasing $2, though previous subscribers were grandfathered in at the old cost — and expanding the services to other countries.


Detective Pikachu Trailer Released

Live-action remakes of classic childhood animated movies have become a trend in Hollywood, with some of the most recent including Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book. Pokémon will soon join these ranks with the release of Detective Pikachu next spring, a new franchise collaboration between Legendary Entertainment and the Pokémon Company.

The film features CGI versions of the creatures and gives Pikachu the ability to speak. Legendary Entertainment purchased the rights to the movie in 2016, shortly after the release of Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game that caused a worldwide frenzy.

Official Detective Pikachu Trailer

Set in Ryme City, Pokémons and humans exist side-by-side and most Pokémon are trained by humans and used in battles. Unlike his fellow Pokémon, Pikachu wants to be a detective rather than fight. While in the past Pikachu has been known for only saying “Pika, pika,” or “Pikachu,” in the film he is voiced by Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, The Proposal) and is capable of talking like a human. Unfortunately people aren’t able to understand the creature until he meets Tim Goodman, played by Justice Smith (Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom).

The film centers around Tim’s quest to find his missing father and his reluctant acceptance of PIkachu’s help. Pikachu claims to be a great detective and tells Tim the only way he’ll be able to find his father is if they work together.

The trailer has been met with controversy by some critics. From the Pokémons’ looks, such as PIkachu being fuzzy, to Pikachu’s ability to talk — in Deadpool’s voice no less — the trailer has sparked Twitter threads and even a parody video with Danny DeVito voicing Pikachu. Despite the rants that have appeared, Pokémon fans appear excited about the new film.

Parody Trailer featuring Danny Devito

Detective Pikachu is set for a May 10, 2019 release date and will be distributed by Toho in Japan and Warner Brothers outside of Japan. Rob Letterman (Goosebumps) directed the film with Joseph M. Caracciolo and Tsunekazu Ishihara serving as executive producers.

Warner Bros Wins Global Distribution Rights for “They Shall Not Grow Old”

Peter Jackson’s (The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) World War I documentary, “They Shall Not Grow Old” premiered at the London Film Festival on October 16. Set for a U.K. television release on November 11, Jackson’s agent showed the film to Hollywood distributors in hopes of bringing it to the big screen. Moved by the production, Warner Bros. Pictures acquired the global distribution rights to the documentary and will likely push for a theater release by year’s end.

Photo from Deadline

Jackson’s documentary brings viewers back to the turn of the 20th century with restored and colorized historical footage and features audio recordings of veterans describing their experiences. Jackson even created a 3D version of the film, bringing audiences to the front line alongside the soldiers. Despite it being his first documentary, the film is being praised as a “technical dazzler with a surprisingly humane streak,” by Variety.

Commissioned by 14-18 NOW, a U.K. arts program, the Imperial War Museum and the BBC, “They Shall Not Grow Old” held a special appeal for Jackson, whose grandfather fought for Britain during WWI. When Jackson agreed to the project years ago, he planned to create a half hour program, but the project grew quickly since Jackson had access to 100 hours of video and 600 hours of audio recordings from British soldiers. It soon became a full length feature film and Jackson’s manager showed it to distributors in Hollywood, hoping the film may have life beyond academics. Toby Emmerich, chairman at Warner Bros Pictures Group, fell for the film and bought the distribution rights.

Peter Jackson Thou Shall Not Grow Old

Photo from Deadline

“Peter and I share a passion for WWI history,” Emmerich said. “Watching this documentary was a moving, emotional experience and will remind viewers of the bravery and sacrifice of these soldiers and their contributions to freedom. Peter has created a powerful, immersive film that will touch people and we’re proud to partner with him to bring this film to audiences around the world.”

The film will air on BBC in the U.K. on November 11, Armistice Day. This year’s Armistice Day marks 100 years since guns were silenced, ending the first World War.

Michael Jordan to Produce and Star in Lionsgate’s “The Silver Bear”

“The Silver Bear” is the first installment of the “Assassin Books” written by famed screenwriter Derek Haas (Wanted, 3:10 to Yuma). Published in 2008, the story follows Columbus, a skilled hitman, as he pieces together his past and takes out high-profile targets. Nickel City Pictures optioned the book’s rights last year and has since partnered with Lionsgate to bring the project to life. This week it was announced that Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther) will headline the cast as Columbus and produce the project. Jordan’s latest movie, Creed II, hits theaters next month.

Michael B. Jordan arrives at the MTV Movie and TV Awards at the Barker Hangar, in Santa Monica, Calif2018 MTV Movie and TV Awards - Arrivals, Santa Monica, USA - 16 Jun 2018Michael B. Jordan – Photo from Variety


“’The Silver Bear’ is the kind of story that needs to be experienced on the big screen and Michael is the perfect movie star to inhabit the skin of this dynamic character and take us into the cinematic world of Columbus,” Lionsgate Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake told Variety. “We’re incredibly honored that Michael and Nickel City chose Lionsgate to partner with in bringing this exciting property to life.”

Told from his point of view, “The Silver Bear” follows Columbus as he plans to assassinate presidential candidate Abe Mann — also known as his father. Columbus is known in the criminal underworld as “Silver Bear,” a Russian term for an accomplished — and well paid — assassin, so given because their shots never miss. As he plots to take out his mark, Columbus begins to assemble details from his past and realizes he may soon be on the wrong end of a gun.

The Silver Bear (Silver Bear, #1)

Photo from Goodreads

Frank Baldwin (The Godmother) signed on with Nickel City Pictures to adapt the book for the big screen after they optioned the rights in 2017. Nickel City hopes to adapt the other books in the series as well and create a new action franchise.

“We are confident that the underlying work by Derek, combined with Frank’s writing style and enthusiasm, will set the stage for a successful franchise with a strong first installment,” Nickel City’s Vishal Rungta told Deadline last year.

Production will be a combined effort between Jordan’s Outlier Society Productions banner, Lionsgate and Nickel City Pictures. Vishal Rungta, Mark Fasano and Ankur Rungta of Nickel City pictures will serve as producers alongside Jordan. Derek Haas, Michael Garnett and Tobias Weymar have signed on as executive producers for the project.

David Spitz Stays With Lionsgate

David Spitz has signed a long-term agreement to remain president of Domestic Theatrical Distribution at Lionsgate. Spitz has worked on world famous films including “The Hunger Games” franchise and “La La Land.” In addition to these successes, he helped establish new brands for the company, including Pantelion and Lionsgate Codeblack Films.

Spitz began his career as a film buyer for Mann Theaters, then as a regional branch manager for MGM Distribution. In 1996, he joined LIVE Entertainment as the Western Division Manager. When LIVE Entertainment became Artisan, Spitz remained on staff and held several executive positions. When Lionsgate acquired Artisan in 2003, Spitz came along and continued moving up the ranks until attaining his current position in 2009.


Photo from Variety

Lionsgate has praised Spitz for his many talents, such as seeing opportunities that other studios overlook, like holes to fill in the release calendar. He also works in a variety of genres, as seen in his credits, where he has done everything from action-adventure films to musicals.

He’s also proven instrumental in expanding the company by helping build the Pantelion Hispanic film brand and Codeblack Films. Pantelion, the first Latino Hollywood studio, produced Instructions Not Included, which is now the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the United States. Codeblack Films is an urban film label focusing on serving the world’s black community with a diverse portfolio of feature films.

“David’s distribution leadership is a key element in guiding our business forward,” said Joe Drake, Chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group. “He has great relationships with exhibitors, talent and our studio partners and a deep understanding of the right release dates and best distribution strategies for our movies. He will continue to be an integral part of our motion picture leadership team in the years ahead.”

Spitz is thrilled with the deal and said he is glad “to be part of the most innovative and visionary studio in the business and to be surrounded by an incredibly talented group of distribution executives.”

Upcoming Lionsgate releases include “Hunter Killer,” “Robin Hood,” “Midway,” and “Parabellum,” the next chapter of the John Wick franchise.

Middleton Media Group’s New Project: Breaking Cover

Middleton Media has optioned the rights to the book “Breaking Cover: My Secret Life in the CIA and What it Taught me About What’s Worth Fighting For.” This memoir, written by former CIA agent Michele Assad after she was cleared to drop her cover, details her time serving in the Middle East alongside her husband, Joseph.

While the screenplay is still being adapted by Michael Russell Gunn (The Newsroom), early reports state that the film plans to focus on the Assad’s relationship while they were working undercover, as well as the humanitarian mission they planned and executed after they left the agency.

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Photo from Goodreads

Growing up in rural Florida, Michele never planned to fight terrorism, but after meeting Joseph in high school, traveling to Egypt and studying the Middle East in college, she became interested in the region. On a whim, she submitted an application to the CIA and was accepted, as was Joseph.

The Assads were in training under the CIA’s Directorate of Operations when the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 occurred. As a result, the two worked on missions throughout the Middle East, hunting down terrorists while also maintaining their marriage. In addition to their missions, the film will chronicle a humanitarian effort they planned and carried out to rescue hundreds of refugees from ISIS in 2015, which was featured on ABC’s 20/20 under the title “Escaping ISIS.”

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Photo from ABC

Michele’s book has offered readers a different perspective on the Middle East and the film intends to bring that view to the big screen.

Breaking Cover reveals a layer of the world that we don’t ordinarily get to see, and Michele has harnessed her vast political knowledge, understanding of the region, and natural gifts as a storyteller to craft a memoir that feels like a thriller,” John Powers Middleton and Alex Foster told Deadline Hollywood.

Middleton and Foster are serving as producers on the project for Middleton Media.

“We’re excited to be partnering with the talented Michael Russell Gunn on the script and can’t wait to bring this incredible true story to audiences everywhere,” they said.

Adam Ciralsky (The Somali Project) and P3 Media will serve as executive producers alongside Luke Franek (The Maze Runner).