Apple TV+ Renews ‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’ for Second Season, Inks Deal for Multiple Spin-Off Series

Apple TV+ has renewed a second season of “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters,” from Legendary Entertainment, in addition to signing a new multi-series deal with Legendary for multiple spinoff series based on the monster franchise.

Following the battle between Godzilla and the Titans that leveled San Francisco, and the revelation that monsters are real, “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” tracks two siblings following in their father’s footsteps to uncover their family’s connection to the secretive organization known as Monarch.

Clues lead them into the world of monsters and ultimately down a rabbit hole to Army officer Lee Shaw (played by Kurt Russell and son Wyatt), taking place in the 1950s and half a century later when Monarch is threatened by what Shaw knows.

The upcoming season of “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” is executive produced by showrunners and co-creators Chris Black and Matt Fraction, along with Joby Harold and Tory Tunnell from Safehouse Pictures, and Matt Shakman, Andrew Colville and Jen Roskind. Hiro Matsuoka and Takemasa Arita executive produce on behalf of Toho Co., Ltd., the owner of the Godzilla character.

Toho licensed the rights to Legendary Entertainment for “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” as a natural byproduct of their long-term relationship with the film franchise.

Reelgood: Oscar Winner ‘The Zone of Interest’ Tops Weekly Streaming Through April 10

A24’s Oscar-winning The Zone of Interest (Best International Feature) topped all streaming content for the week through April 10 following its debut on the Max platform, according to new data from Reelgood.com, which monitors 20 million viewing decisions each month across all streaming platforms domestically.

The result held off the new Netflix thriller series “Ripley,” which finished No. 2 overall and No. 1 on the episodic chart, ahead of the streamer’s previous-week chart topper, the sci-fi drama “3 Body Problem.” Previous movie polesitter, Prime Video’s Road House, dropped down to No. 5. The historical drama “A Gentleman in Moscow” rounded out the overall podium at No. 3, while finishing No. 2 on the TV top 10 chart.

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‘Godzilla x Kong’ Faces ‘Civil War’ at the Weekend Box Office

The weekend box office reign of Warner Bros. Pictures sci-fi actioner Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire faces a formidable foe for the weekend through April 14 with the release of A24’s dystopian thriller Civil War, about a fictional team of military-embedded journalists racing to reach the White House before rebel militia forces. The movie generated $2.9 million in Thursday sneak previews.

Strong reviews and word-of-mouth buzz could see the film reach $30 million in opening weekend ticket sales, enough to stop the two-weekened box office reign of Godzilla (projected $15 million in third-weekend ticket sales), according to new data from Box Office Pro. Godzilla x Kong currently ranks No. 4 at the 2024 box office with $367.5 million in global revenue, according to Box Office Mojo.

Civil War, which stars Nick Offerman, Kristen Dunst and Jesse Plemons, could eventually unseat the 2022 Oscar Best Picture winner Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, which generated $77 million at the North American box office and $143.4 million worldwide, as A24’s top box office release.

Weekend box office returnees include  Universal Pictures’ ‘R’-rated action thriller Monkey Man, starring Dev Patel, and 20th Century Studios’ horror prequel The First Omen.

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Chinese TV Manufacturer TCL Launches AI-Generated Streaming Content Production Studio

China consumer electronics manufacturer TCL April 12 announced the launch of a content production studio for its ad-supported TCLtv+ streaming platform.

Dubbed “TCLtv+ Studios,” the production team includes animators, VFX experts, AI engineers and writers to create episodic programming. The first original production is an AI generated short film “Next Stop Paris,” a romance launching this summer on the TCLtv+ app.

The streaming platform is using original content as a complement to the hundreds of FAST and AVOD channels being launched on the service through partnerships with Fox, A&E and the NFL.

“Next Stop Paris” was developed in house and written by Chris Regina, chief content officer, and Daniel Smith, chief creative officer. The movie is animated by a global team, including artists from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Poland, and layering tech and design animation over traditional narrative.

Regina said TCLtv+ Studios aims to use custom AI models, including new technology such as “stable diffusion,” in addition to writers and voice actors to produce content.

AI, among other issues, was at the heart of last summer’s Hollywood strikes that saw the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA picket studios regarding safeguards against artificial intelligence impacting jobs for human actors and writers.

Indeed, “Next Stop Paris” only uses AI-generated actors and characters.

“We are empowering creators and storytellers to use this new [AI] technology, so the human experience is enriched, and we believe that creatives with limitless imagination will drive endless innovation,” Regina said in a statement.

According to TCL, the AI technology used to create its characters and fictional world allows the creative teams to push boundaries and “invigorate” the viewer experience, while also creating new “opportunities” for marketing partners.

“Storytelling will be at the heart of everything we do,” Regina said in a statement. “We are empowering creators and storytellers. We view Next Stop Paris as an early experiment…to see how it’s received in the town square.”

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Nielsen: ‘Taylor Swift Concert Movie’ Ranked No. 8 in Weekly Streaming Debut Through March 17

The streaming VOD debut of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (Taylor’s Version) concert movie on Disney+ generated 677 million viewing minutes across U.S. household televisions after four days, to rank No. 8 overall through March 17, according to new data from Nielsen.

The Eras Tour streaming was driven by an audience that was 70% female across all age ranges (the 18-34 demo had the highest concentration of viewing with 26%). The concert film also finished No. 2 on the movie chart, behind the former chart topper, the Netflix fantasy actioner Damsel, with more than 1.5 billion minutes viewed.

The Netflix original “The Gentleman” topped all content with the action-comedy crime drama upping viewership 54% to 1.86 billion minutes from from its previous-week (March 10) debut of 1.2 billion minutes.

Despite maintaining nearly the same amount of viewing minutes (1.44 billion) from the previous week, the Netflix reality dating show “Love Is Blind” rounded out the overall podium at No. 3, while finishing No. 2 on the originals chart.

The acquired Disney+ animated children’s series “Bluey” again topped the billion-minute mark with 1.06 billion viewing minutes to take No. 4 overall.

The Peacock original mystery-drama miniseries “Apples Never Fall” finished at No. 6 on the originals chart with 476 million viewing minutes through its seven episodes. The series is based on a novel by Liane Moriarty, who also wrote “Big Little Lies” and “Nine Perfect Strangers,” which were adapted for TV by HBO and Hulu, respectively. “Nine Perfect Strangers” first charted on the originals list in August 2021 during its first season. “Big Little Lies” did not put out any new episodes after July 2019, and Nielsen did not begin reporting Max streaming data until May 2022.

Lastly, the finale episode of “Masters of the Air” on Apple TV+ pushed the series back into the top 10 on the originals chart with 330 million viewing minutes.

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Amazon CEO: Prime Video Reaches 200 Million Monthly Viewers, With Paid Advertising ‘Off to a Strong Start’

Amazon’s Prime Video subscription streaming platform reaches more than 200 million monthly viewers across movies, TV shows, Amazon MGM Originals, and live sports such as NFL “Thursday Night Football,” CEO Andrew Jassy wrote in Amazon’s annual shareholder letter, which covered a variety of issues and achievements.

Andy Jassy

In January, Prime Video began installing paid ads in its programming unless subscribers opted to pay a $3 monthly surcharge to avoid them — the latter reportedly set to generate Amazon about $1.8 billion in additional revenue.

In the letter, Jassy wrote that streaming TV advertising is growing quickly and “off to a strong start.”

Amazon, which includes Prime Video as a free streaming feature with the annual Prime membership, also offers the service as a standalone SVOD option. The company has never disclosed Prime Video’s subscriber numbers, but in the letter Jassy said he believes the platform has the legs to stand on its own.

The CEO said his faith in Prime Video revolves around the platform’s slate of high-priced exclusive content, including Thursday Night Football, “Lord of the Rings,” reportedly the most-expensive episodic program ever made; “Reacher”; “The Boys”; “Citadel”; and Road House, among others.

He contends that growing subscriber engagement with this content, growth in the platform’s marketplace programs, including third-party Prime Video Channels, as well as transactional VOD access to, and digital purchase of, TV shows and movies, and the addition of advertising continue to drive Prime Video fiscal fortunes.

“We have increasing conviction that Prime Video can be a large and profitable business on its own,” Jassy wrote.

Amazon will hold its virtual annual shareholder meeting on May 22.

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EMarketer: Netflix Accounts for 20% of All U.S. Streaming Revenue as Market Sector Looks to Exceed Pay-TV in 2025

Netflix revenue in the United States will top $14.5 billion in 2024, accounting for about 20% of all domestic over-the-top video subscription streaming revenue, according to new data from EMarketer. The tally exceeds the streamer’s closet rival Disney, which tops $13.96 billion when combining the annual domestic revenue of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+.

Subscription streaming revenue is projected top pay-TV revenue for the first time in 2025, when including online TV platforms such as YouTube TV, Sling TV, and Hulu + Live TV, among others. Without online TV, streaming revenue won’t exceed pay-TV revenue until 2026.

Between 2020 and 2024, the share of total video subscription revenue that went to pay-TV decreased from 72.6% to 50.3%. Pay-TV prices have increased, but cord-cutting has skyrocketed, causing that legacy pay-TV subscription revenue to shrink between 6% and 7% per year.

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Meanwhile, the “Digital Video Forecast & Trends Q1 2024” report found that Netflix’s domestic audience is saturated, with the service reaching more than 75% of all U.S. streamers this year. To generate incremental revenue from subscribers, Netflix has restricted password-sharing and continues to raise subscription fees. Netflix also adopted ad-supported SVOD service after avoiding it for years.

While Netflix’s subscription revenue continues to grow, the rate is not as fast as the rest of the streaming industry. Between 2020 and 2025, Netflix’s share of total domestic streaming subscription revenue is projected to decline from 32.4% to 21.3%. This has happened as YouTube ($10.13 billion) and Paramount+ ($3.06 billion) expanded their share of subscription revenue, and Peacock and Apple TV+ found larger audiences.

EMarketer’s report does not include Prime Video, since Amazon does not separate the streaming platform’s revenue from the Prime membership revenue. Despite this, the report suggests Prime Video plays an outsized role in the U.S. streaming market. Indeed, the forecast contends that U.S. adults will watch Prime Video for an average of 12 minutes per day in 2024, which is almost 33% of the time people will spend watching Netflix.

In January, Amazon turned advertising on by default for Prime Video users. To avoid ads, Prime Video subs can pay an additional $3 per month. This tactic could generate $1.8 billion of subscription revenue for Prime Video this year, according to Bank of America.

Earlier this year, Amazon acquired a stake in the bankrupt Diamond Sports, a regional sports network company. This allowed Amazon to obtain the local broadcasting rights for several professional sports teams.

“Pricing details haven’t been announced, but it’s feasible that Amazon could increase its video subscription revenue by charging a monthly fee to access the games of specific teams,” read the report.

Lionsgate Partners With Margot Robbie’s Production Company for Hasbro’s ‘Monopoly’ Board Game-Themed Movie

Lionsgate and Hasbro April 10 announced a deal with LuckyChap, the production company headed by Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, and Josey McNamara, to produce Monopoly, a motion picture in development based on the classic board game. Hasbro Entertainment will also produce.

Lionsgate acquired the development rights with its 2023 purchase of eOne. Monopoly is the world’s most popular board game brand, with 99% global awareness, and is available in more than 100 countries across the globe, selling nearly half a billion copies going back to 1935, according to Hasbro.

LuckyChap most recently produced Barbie, the Oscar-winning blockbuster that generated more than $1.4 billion at the global box office, as well as Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn, and the upcoming release My Old Ass, starring Aubrey Plaza and Maisy Stella.

“[LuckyChap] are exceptional producers who choose their projects with great thought and care, and join Monopoly with a clear point of view,” Adam Fogelson, chair, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said in a statement.

James Myers is overseeing Monopoly on behalf of Lionsgate. Robert Melnik led the studio’s dealmaking.

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Lionsgate Partnering With Blumhouse on Reboot of Indie Horror Hit ‘The Blair Witch Project’

Lionsgate April 10 announced it is partnering with Jason Blum’s Blumhouse production company for a “re-imagining” of the 1999 indie horror box office hit The Blair Witch Project. The movie is the first in a multi-picture pact with Blum rebooting horror classics from the Lionsgate library.

Blum will team with producer Roy Lee — who previously produced the 2016 sequel Blair Witch — on the new Blair Witch, according to the announcement made at the ongoing CinemaCon in Las Vegas through April 11. Lionsgate currently operates “Escape Blair Witch,” billed as one of Vegas’s most popular escape room experiences.

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Blum said he has always been a “huge admirer” of The Blair Witch Project, which he said brought the idea of found footage horror to mainstream audiences and became a true cultural phenomenon.

The original movie, acquired at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival by Artisan Entertainment, went on to generate an unprecedented $250 million at the global box office. Artisan, in turn, was acquired by Lionsgate, with EVP Steve Beeks joining the company to head it burgeoning home entertainment business — driven in part by the DVD release of The Blair Witch Project.

“I don’t think there would have been a Paranormal Activity had there not first been a Blair Witch,” Blum said in a statement.

Blumhouse has become a gold standard in the horror space, generating strong fiscal results from a string of modestly-budgeted films, including the “Paranormal Activity” franchise, Insidious, The Purge, Sinister, Halloween, Five Nights at Freddy’s and M3GAN, along with award winners Get Out and BlacKkKlansman. The company’s films have grossed nearly $6 billion at the worldwide box office.

New Online Platform Aims to Reduce Subscriber Churn Through Broadband Bundling, Content Recommendation

Streaming video subscribers are less likely to drop a SVOD service when it is bundled with third-party internet platforms. New data from MyBundle.com suggests that bundling streaming credits with broadband service reduces the first-year monthly churn rate for streaming services upwards of 50% to 4.3%, compared to the industry average of 8.6% for standalone services, according to a separate Antenna “State of Subscriptions – Premium SVOD” study.

The website found that when 300 subscribers to Norvado’s 1 Gb fiber internet broadband service were offered $20 in monthly streaming credits, the monthly churn rate of streaming services was about 4.3% after 12 months, using the same methodology as Antenna’s study. Both reports used a weighted average of monthly churn consumers in year one of their respective subscriptions.

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MyBundle reports that 21 of its 230 broadband partners are offering its branded “streaming choice” program enabling ISPs to better satisfy their subscribers.

“The concept of bundling content and connectivity is nothing new to the broader business of media and entertainment, however with this yearlong research, we now have strong empirical data that bundling streaming with broadband works,” Jason Cohen, co-founder/CEO of MyBundle, said in a statement.

The company offers users online guides to help determine which online TV service, with streaming option, is the best in their market location. It also offers guides for streaming apps and content recommendations based on IMDb data, among other sources.

“New customer acquisition is still important for streaming services, but reducing churn is now a close second priority,” Cohen said. “While the benefit to broadband providers is noteworthy, a potential 50% reduction in monthly churn is remarkable.”