‘Rick and Morty’ Coming to HBO Max

WarnerMedia’s pending SVOD service HBO Max has secured streaming rights to Adult Swim’s animated series “Rick and Morty” in the United States.

All three seasons of “Rick and Morty” that have aired to date will be available to viewers on the service when HBO Max launches in the U.S. in May 2020. Future seasons of “Rick and Morty” will continue to premiere on Adult Swim before streaming on HBO Max. The fourth season premieres on Adult Swim and in several countries on Nov. 10.

The series is the winner of 2018’s Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program.

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“‘Rick and Morty’ exploded onto the scene in 2013 and quickly drew a legion of rabid followers from both critics and young fans,” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer of HBO Max, and president of TBS, TNT, truTV. “The jokes come fast and frenetically in a smart comedy concoction we are so happy to deliver on HBO Max.”

The series follows a sociopathic genius scientist who drags his inherently timid grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe. Rick Sanchez is living with his daughter Beth’s family and constantly bringing her, his son-in-law Jerry, granddaughter Summer, and grandson Morty into intergalactic escapades.

Ridley Scott Sci-Fi Series ‘Raised by Wolves’ to Premiere on HBO Max

“Raised by Wolves,” a serialized sci-fi series from Ridley Scott, will premiere on WarnerMedia’s SVOD series HBO Max, launching in May 2020 at $14.99 a month.

The serialized sci-fi series is executive produced and directed by Scott (The MartianBlade RunnerAlien: Covenant). Writer Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners) created the 10-episode series and serves as showrunner and writer for the project, which recently wrapped production in Cape Town, South Africa. The series centers on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences, the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task.

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“As we strive to set a high creative bar for HBO Max, there’s no better person to set that bar than Ridley Scott as he delivers his first season of yet another incredible vision realized,” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer of HBO Max, and president of TBS, TNT, and truTV.

“The breathtaking worlds, compelling characters and intricate storylines that Ridley, Aaron and team have created for this project are mesmerizing,” added Sarah Aubrey, head of original content at HBO Max.

‘South Park’ Coming to HBO Max in June 2020

HBO Max, the upcoming streaming platform from WarnerMedia set to launch in May 2020, has secured exclusive streaming rights in the U.S. to Comedy Central’s “South Park.”

The multiyear licensing deal was completed with South Park Digital Studios, a joint venture between Viacom and “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. All 23 seasons of Parker and Stone’s award-winning animated satire will become available exclusively on the streamer in June 2020 followed by three new seasons, which will debut on HBO Max 24 hours after each episode premieres on Comedy Central.

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“‘South Park’ is unequivocally among the best — setting the satirical gold standard, with a consistent finger on the comedy pulse,” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer of HBO Max, and president of TBS, TNT, and TruTV. “Audiences have connected with Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny — either alive or dead — for over 20 years, and we look forward to connecting these characters to new audiences on HBO Max.”

For the past six years, “South Park” has been the No. 1 primetime cable comedy among young adults, garnering 44 million viewers on cable last year alone. Since premiering in 1997, “South Park” has earned 19 Emmy Award nominations, five Emmy wins and a Peabody Award.

A Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the matter recently reported that Viacom and the “South Park” creators were poised to reap between $450 million and $500 million by selling the streaming rights to the irreverent animated series.

HBO Max to Launch in May 2020 Priced at $14.99 a Month with ‘Joker’ Movie

In a gala-like atmosphere on the Warner Bros. lot, John Stankey, CEO of WarnerMedia, Oct. 29 announced the high-profile HBO Max subscription streaming video service would launch in May 2020.

Pricing for the service is $14.99 a month — identical to the current HBO Now streaming service, which is being folded into Max. It will be aggressively marketed to AT&T’s 170 million mobile, broadband and linear TV subscribers.

As expected, an ad-supported version of Max will debut in 2021.

“Just like cable introduced the rise of niche networks to dramatically grow audience, general entertainment streaming is the next great opportunity to aggregate and grow audience,” Stankey said.

Indeed, WarnerMedia, which evolved from AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, is set to spend upwards of $2 billion annually on original content for Max, in addition to a treasure-trove of catalog content from Warner Bros., HBO and Turner.

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Max will bow with 31 original series, increasing to 50 series by  2021, according to Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max and president, TBS, TNT, and truTV. In all there will be 10,000 hours of premium content at launch, including 1,800 movies.

Warner Bros.’ current box office hit, Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, will also be available at launch.

Joaquin Phoenix in Warner Bros.’ ‘Joker’

Notably, Max will not enable subscribers to binge-view original episodic programing, opting instead to distribute shows on a weekly basis — as HBO has done for “Game of Thrones,” “True Detective,” “Big Little Lies,” and “Succession.”

WarnerMedia will make Max available to existing AT&T TV’s HBO subs free for one year. In addition, the service will also be bundled with AT&T TV Now, the telecom’s reboot of standalone online TV service, DirecTV Now.

‘Rambo: Last Blood’ Shooting to Home Video in December

Lionsgate will release Rambo: Last Blood through digital retailers Dec. 3, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Dec. 17.

The fifth film in the “Rambo” franchise finds Sylvester Stallone back as one of the greatest action heroes of all time, John Rambo, who must confront his past and unearth his ruthless combat skills to exact revenge in a final mission. The cast includes Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Adrianna Barraza, Yvette Monreal, Joaquin Cosio and Oscar Jaenada.

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The film earned $44.5 million at the domestic box office.

Extras include the featurettes “Drawing Last Blood: Multipart Production Diary” and “From First Note to Last Blood: Music for the Massacres,” plus the theatrical trailer.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray will include Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

Sony to Shutter PlayStation Vue

Sony Interactive Entertainment announced in a blog post that it would be shutting down its PlayStation Vue live TV streaming service on Jan. 30, 2020.

“Unfortunately, the highly competitive pay-TV industry, with expensive content and network deals, has been slower to change than we expected,” read the blog from deputy president John Kodera. “Because of this, we have decided to remain focused on our core gaming business.”

The service launched more than four years ago.

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“PlayStation fans can continue to access movie and TV content through the PlayStation Store on PS4 and via our partnerships with top entertainment apps,” read the blog. “With 100 million PlayStation 4s in the market today, our community continues to grow and thrive. We will continue to deliver the best entertainment experiences across the network, along with other key gaming services, including PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus.

“We are very proud of what PlayStation Vue was able to accomplish. We had ambitious goals for how our service could change how people watch TV, showcasing PlayStation’s ability to innovate in a brand-new category within the Pay TV industry. We want to thank all of our customers, some of whom have been with us since PlayStation Vue’s launch in 2015.”

Sony reportedly had been looking for a buyer for the service, with roughly half a million subscribers and plans starting at around $50 a month.

Netflix’s ‘BoJack Horseman’ Top Binge, ‘Daybreak’ Top ‘Show on the Rise’ on TV Time Charts

Netflix’s “BoJack Horseman” was the top binge, while the service’s “Daybreak” led the “Shows on the Rise” on the TV Time charts for the week ended Oct. 27.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the service. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program.

The fifth season of top binge “BoJack Horseman” debuted Oct. 25. The irreverent animated comedy, which was also No. 7 on the Shows on the Rise chart, follows BoJack (Will Arnett), a failed sitcom star from the favorite family sitcom “Horsin’ Around” who has been trying to find his way through a muddle of self-loathing, whisky and failed relationships. Following catalog hit “Friends” on the binge chart at No. 3 was Netflix’s global original “Baby,” the second season of which debuted Oct. 18. The Italian series is a coming-of-age story that explores the unseen lives of Roman high schoolers.

Top rising show “Daybreak” debuted on Netflix Oct. 24. Set in a post-apocalyptic world in the wake of a nuclear blast, the series follows marauding high schoolers in the city of Glendale, Calif. Netflix’s “Brotherhood,” which hit screens Oct. 25, took the silver on the rise chart. The global original from Brazil, set in the mid-90s, follows Cristina, an honest and dedicated lawyer, who discovers that her estranged brother has been in prison and is a leader of a rising criminal faction. Coerced by the police, she is forced to become an informant and work against him.

Hulu’s Stephen King multiverse show “Castle Rock” made an appearance at No. 6 on the Shows on the Rise chart. Its second season debuted Oct. 23.

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Top Binge Shows Week Ended Oct. 27 by Share of Binges:

  1. “BoJack Horseman” (Netflix) — 2.50%
  2. “Friends” (NBC) — 2.44%
  3. “Baby” (Netflix) — 2.38%
  4. “Insatiable” (Netflix) — 2.23%
  5. “Greenhouse Academy” (Netflix) — 2.08%
  6. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.61%
  7. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 1.53%
  8. “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS) — 1.36%
  9. “Daybreak” (Netflix) — 1.36%
  10. “Peaky Blinders” (BBC One) — 1.33%

 

Top Shows on the Rise Week Ended Oct. 27 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Daybreak” (Netflix) — 100%
  2. “Brotherhood” (Netflix) — 99.9%
  3. “Il Collegio” (Rai 2) — 97.4%
  4. “Greenhouse Academy” (Netflix) — 96.7%
  5. “The Kominski Method” (Netflix) — 96.7%
  6. “Castle Rock” (Hulu) — 93%
  7. “BoJack Horseman” (Netflix) — 91.3%
  8. “EastEnders” (BBC One) — 87.6%
  9. “Silicon Valley” (HBO) — 75.5%
  10. “Will & Grace” (NBC) — 72.6%

Study: Consumers Worried About Too Much Choice, Increased Cost Amid Streaming Wars

As the subscription streaming wars heat up, most people (70%) believe that there will be too many streaming choices, and 87% worry it will become too expensive to keep up, according to a new study.

TV Time, an online tracking platform for TV and movie viewership, along with UTA IQ, UTA’s data and analytics group, conducted the study, “Beyond the Big Three,” to understand consumer sentiment surrounding the new streaming media landscape. The study focused on awareness, purchase intent, and the features and offerings that drive, or slow, consumer adoption. Conducted in September 2019, it surveyed 4,816 respondents in the United States and 1,818 total respondents in the Netherlands, Canada and Australia. The U.S. population results were balanced by age and gender (13-54).

Overall, a substantial number of consumers in the study said they intend to add one (42%) or two (20%) new streaming services.

Other key findings were:

  • After cost, the biggest frustrations were the need to toggle between services (67%), account setup and management (58%), and the inability to find content easily (45%).
  • People were willing to accept some form of ad-supported model (44%) compared to a subscription-only model (56%) if advertisements alleviated service cost.
  • Consumers valued library content more than originals. Almost all respondents (90%) characterized it as “important” or “very important.” This compared to 68% who shared the same feeling about originals.

 

Brand awareness findings included:

  • Disney+ and Apple TV+ had the highest levels of awareness (88% and 63%, respectively) among the upcoming services, followed by HBO Max (37%) and NBCU’s Peacock (28%).
  • Families (57%) were no more or less likely to subscribe to Disney+ than households without children (55%), illustrating the strength of Disney’s adult franchises.
  • Consumers were attracted to most of Disney’s library franchises with Marvel (77%) and Pixar (71%) ranking the highest. “The Mandalorian” followed by Marvel’s “Falcon & Winter Soldier,” “WandaVision,” “Loki,” “Hawkeye” and “She-Hulk” were among the most anticipated Disney+ original shows.
  • The intent to subscribe to AppleTV+ increased by ten percentage points when respondents were told about the type of content and talent involved.

 

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“In a television landscape that is experiencing such intense disruption, we are seeking to better understand how consumer preferences and attitudes play into it,” said Joe Kessler and David Herrin of UTA IQ in a statement. “It is indeed the Golden Age of Television, in that there are more great shows being made, more competition for eyeballs and ultimately, greater demand for creative talent, than ever before. Research like this helps us look beyond the horizon and make more informed decisions as we work together to navigate these monumental shifts in the marketplace.”

While the study found that Disney+ is currently best positioned for success, it does not appear that the platform will pose a major threat to existing services, as a majority of respondents (70%) indicated they were not “likely” or “very likely” to drop a current service if they subscribed to Disney+.

Subscription intent for Disney+ is somewhat lower outside of the United States, the study found, and varies significantly by country, at 56% in the U.S. compared to 49% in the Netherlands, 42% in Canada and 38% in Australia.

“While Disney+ appears well-positioned to succeed internationally, it may require additional focus in strategic markets to encourage people to subscribe,” said Alex von Krogh, VP of TV Time, in a statement. “It will be important to track how people engage with their programming from a global perspective and how that compares to competitors in those markets.”

Breaking Glass Sets DVD Release Date for ‘Papi Chulo’

Breaking Glass Pictures has set a Nov. 5 release date for Papi Chulo, a comedy-drama written and directed by John Butler and starring Matt Bomer and Alejandro Patiño.

The American-Irish film, which originally premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, will be available to home audiences on DVD only. It also screened at the London Film Festival, the Torino Film Festival, The Palm Springs International Film Festival, and the Dublin International Film Festival.

Papi Chulo features a newly single TV weatherman (Bomer) who is put on leave following an on-air meltdown. He directs his energy into home improvement and hires a middle-aged Latino day laborer named Ernesto (Patiño) for help. Despite a language barrier and having absolutely nothing in common, the two men develop an unexpected relationship.

The film grossed $85,000 domestically in a limited theatrical release, with just over $7,000 during opening weekend.

‘Stranger Things’ Spends 18th Week Atop Parrot Analytics’ TV Demand Charts

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” remained No. 1 on not only Parrot Analytics’ digital originals rankings the week ended Oct. 26, but also the data firm’s overall list of TV series from any platform, including broadcast and cable, for the 18th straight week.

A “digital original” is a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu.

For the week, “Stranger Things” registered 78.8 million average daily Demand Expressions, the proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. That was down 7.1% in expressions compared with the previous week.

DC Universe’s “Titans” held onto the No. 2 spot on the digital originals chart, with expressions down 6.7% to 49 million. The show is in the midst of its second season.

Staying at No. 3 on the digital originals chart was Netflix’s “Big Mouth,” with expressions down 26.4% to 29.2 million.

Netflix’s “Lucifer” rose three spots to No. 4, with expressions up 9.5% to 27.8 million after a photo of the upcoming fifth and final season was revealed.

Amazon Prime Video’s “The Boys” dropped to No. 5, with expressions down 1.3% to 27.8 million, just 952 fewer expressions than “Lucifer.”

Making a big rise to No. 8, from No. 22 the previous week, was Hulu’s “Castle Rock,” after the first three episodes of season two were released Oct. 23. The show’s demand expressions were up 44% to 24.6 million for the week, from 17.1 million the previous week.

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The Demand Expressions metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.