Redbox Entertainment Acquires Nick Cannon Film ‘She Ball’

Redbox Entertainment has acquired the North American distribution rights to She Ball, a feature written, produced and directed by Nick Cannon, who also stars.

The film will be released simultaneously in theaters and will be widely available on demand including via Redbox on Aug. 6.

She Ball follows the love of basketball through the struggles of Avery Watts (Cannon), who enlists the help of a women’s streetball league to help him save the embattled Inglewood Community Center he manages, all while trying to raise his 7-year-old daughter.

The film also stars Bryan ‘Birdman’ Williams, Chris Brown, Cedric the Entertainer, DC Young Fly, Evan Ross, Faizon Love and Rebecca De Mornay. The movie also features athletes from the WNBA, Ball Up, and the Basketball Beauties League, including Melody Rae, and Jaliyah Manuel. K.D. Aubert, Luenell and Marla Gibbs also star in the film.

“Nick Cannon, one of the most prolific Black voices in our industry, has created a feature that truly captures the spirit of our unique times with She Ball,” Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, said in a statement. “She Ball tackles the critical issues of race and justice facing our nation today in an enlightening and entertaining way.”

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“Seeing this project come to life with my incredibly talented and committed team has been nothing but rewarding, powerful and, most importantly — fun!” Cannon said in a statement. “I believe this film conveys a strong message about the importance of aligning with today’s racial and social justice movements and fight for equality; while also taking us through a resonant example of someone in the community trying to make ends meet. I’m excited to partner with Galen and Redbox on this project to ensure the film reaches a wide audience who will hopefully enjoy taking the journey with Avery!”

She Ball is produced by Cannon, Williams, Brown, Roger Ubina, Demetrius Spencer and Benjamin Sumpter. Executive producers are Michael Goldman and Robert H. Keetch.

She Ball is the latest in a string of acquisitions from Redbox that includes The Last Son (starring Sam Worthington), Capone (starring Tom Hardy), Shadow in the Cloud (starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson), SAS: Red Notice (with Sam Heughan and Ruby Rose) and American Traitor: The True Story of Axis Sally (with Al Pacino and Meadow Williams). It also comes on the heels of Redbox’s venture with “John Wick” producer Basil Iwanyk to form Asbury Park Pictures, which is programming a slate of high-concept action and thriller films over the next few years.

The film is part of the “Redbox Original” slate of theatrical movies aimed at Redbox’s 40 million U.S. customers.

Redbox has engaged Vertical Entertainment as its distribution partner for the feature.

The deal was negotiated by Marc Danon, head of original content for Redbox Entertainment.

Whip Media Launches Exchange for Global Content Rights

Whip Media has beta launched Whip Media Exchange, a data and AI-powered content marketplace that connects buyers and sellers in a centralized platform to streamline discovering, buying and selling global content rights.

Using proprietary first-party data, the Exchange drives more intelligent licensing decisions through a new set of predictive analytics not previously available to the entertainment industry, according to Whip Media.

“The Exchange transforms the global film and TV buying and selling process to one where data and AI drive the experience and streamline content discovery, selection, and transactions,” Richard Rosenblatt, CEO and founder of Whip Media, said in a statement. “Streaming has drastically changed the media landscape and we want to enable licensing to follow the same growth trend. With the launch of the Exchange, Whip Media uniquely provides data and technology to meet the evolving needs of buyers and sellers, along with the industry-leading platform that facilitates the entire content licensing process.”

Lionsgate, Giant Pictures and DMD Limited/CiND!E Films are among the first companies to join the Whip Media Exchange and provide content from their libraries.

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“Connecting our buyers with the right titles is a combination of art and science,” said Lionsgate president of worldwide television and digital distribution Jim Packer. “Whip Media Exchange’s data-driven platform helps our clients navigate our deep portfolio of films and television series and allows us to work with them to create the best content mix for their audiences in every territory.”

Key features of the Exchange include:

  • Data-driven decision making, with proprietary Demand Score and AI-predictive models that enable buyers and sellers to understand which TV and film titles will perform best on a specific platform in a region;
  • Fulfillment efficiencies, with seamless integration into content distribution and supply chain ecosystems for turn-key licensing at scale; and
  • Centralized rights management, a real-time rights-aware dashboard that curates every licensed title available to a buyer across all windows, territories and platforms where they operate and provides predictive audience intelligence into each title including likely performance, viewer demographics, engagement and ratings, while also benchmarking it against similar titles that viewers are watching.

 

Each TV and film title in the Exchange is assigned a new, proprietary Demand Score using models that leverage Whip Media’s sentiment and engagement data, according to the company. The Demand Score is modeled based on consumer viewership and engagement insights from 16 million viewers in more than 170 countries across 4.5 million movie and TV episodes on 1,100 global platforms. The Demand Score provides a decision-making framework to predict content performance, helping buyers and sellers identify the right content for the right audience and drive revenue.

Whip Media manages more than 2 trillion global VOD and digital sellthrough transactions annually and 20 million avails for major content providers and distributors globally. Through the Exchange, the company provides the most efficient media fulfillment process available for content creators and platforms, according to Whip.

“I’ve negotiated hundreds of content licensing deals in my previous roles at Cablevision and Fox, and I believe the Exchange will future-proof global content licensing as business models continue to evolve,” Sherry Brennan, EVP and GM of the Whip Media Exchange, said in a statement. “It’s the only platform bringing consumer insights and predictive analytics into the licensing decision-making process at scale, facilitating the discovery of content and creating efficiencies across the entire process.”

For more information, visit http://whipmedia.com/exchange.

Content Marketplace Company Vuulr Adds Two Execs

Vuulr, a global online content marketplace for film and television rights, has added two senior film industry executives. Daniel Gagliardi will serve as SVP of business development and strategy for the Americas. Andrew Marshall joins the team as head of legal and commercial partnerships.

“Great tech on its own is not enough, its needs to be wrapped with great support from industry experts who fully understand the challenges our buyers and sellers face in their business today,” Ian McKee, Vuulr’s global CEO, said in a statement. “I’m really excited to have Daniel and Andrew onboard as we scale the business.”

Gagliardi will lead efforts to help further develop the company’s growing position as a global online content marketplace for film and television rights, using his extensive and recent experience as both a content buyer and seller.

“As the content seller who helped drive the global rollout of services like Tubi, Pluto TV, Roku, and others, I know first hand the need for quick, efficient and strategic content licensing,” Gagliardi said in a statement. “What excites me most about Vuulr is our ability to transform the business of content licensing, not only with such a large selection of content, but by also offering hyper-local/regional content to help channels and platforms of all types expand around the globe.”

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Prior to joining the Vuulr team, Gagliardi was head of content at Vudu, a Walmart company, where he was responsible for building and leading the content partnerships team. During his tenure, Vudu debuted its first original television series, its first original film, commissioned a dozen additional originals, and partnered with hundreds of content licensors, including Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, Lionsgate, MGM and Samuel Goldwyn, among others. He also worked at Lionsgate where he was VP of worldwide television and digital distribution. In this role he built and led the company’s ad-supported licensing team, forging and overseeing deals with Hulu, YouTube, Tubi, Pluto TV, Roku, Amazon and Crackle, among others.

Marshall has held positions at ESPN STAR Sports, NBCUniversal and The Walt Disney Company.

“I am excited to join Vuulr as they pioneer the transformation of distribution and acquisition,” Marshall said in a statement. “Bringing the efficiencies of doing business online is a critical success factor for the industry as it transforms and the new normals emerge. Vuulr is on the leading edge of enabling this change which brings benefits to Buyers, Sellers and Audiences.”

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Marshall brings a deep understanding of the evolving legal, regulatory commercial landscape for media and entertainment companies, gained from working at leading industry players, according to a Vuulr press release. Marshall was previously general counsel and SVP of legal and business affairs at ESPN STAR Sports and a regional counsel for all lines of business in Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia at The Walt Disney Company, with a focus on content licensing, including theatrical distribution, studio marketing and home entertainment. More recently, he was commercial director for Universal brand development, where he grew the character licensing business for NBCUniversal in Southeast Asia.

Vuulr launched in January 2019 as a global online content marketplace for film and TV rights that connects buyers with content sellers worldwide, providing both with a platform to negotiate and transact directly and securely. The company connects buyers and distributors regardless of time zone or geography, providing an opportunity to access an always-on, diverse selection of mainstream and niche content.

The Vuulr online sales platform currently features content from producers and distributors across the globe, comprising more than 23,000 titles/135,000 hours, across more than 60 genres and 70 languages. Vuulr aims to slash the cost, effort, and time involved in doing transactions for the industry, and licensing transactions on Vuulr close, on average, in 10 days, according to the company.

Lionsgate Acquires ‘Silk Road’ for U.S. Theatrical, Digital, VOD Release Feb. 19, Disc Release Feb. 23

Lionsgate has acquired the crime thriller Silk Road for U.S. theatrical, digital and VOD release Feb. 19 and Blu-ray and DVD release Feb. 23.

Written for the screen and directed by Tiller Russell, the film stars Jason Clarke, Nick Robinson, Alexandra Shipp, Jimmi Simpson, Katie Aselton, Lexi Rabe, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Daniel Stewart and Paul Walter Hauser.

Based on true events, Silk Road focuses on the young, affluent, and highly motivated entrepreneur Ross Ulbricht (Nick Robinson), whose ambitious goal is to launch the Internet’s first completely anonymous and unregulated marketplace. With Ulbricht’s passion for the possibilities his invention offers the world, his site — the Silk Road — becomes the world’s fastest-growing drug market, catching the focus of disgraced DEA agent Rick Bowden (Clarke). A dinosaur with a habit for substance abuse and blowing cases, Bowden once had street savvy in dark corners but is unprepared for the dark web as he struggles through tutorials on how to use the Internet. As both men’s private lives erode, with Bowden in over his head and Ross’s growing paranoia driving unthinkable choices, they cling to their jobs in an elaborate game of cat-and-mouse that have both men asking how far their idealism can take them.

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Silk Road is based on the Rolling Stone article “Dead End On Silk Road” by David Kushner. Years after the legal conclusion of the investigation, the Silk Road saga continues to make headlines, as it was recently reported that $1 billion in bitcoin connected to the site was recently moved for the first time in years — a signal that the criminals who operate in the darkest corners of the internet have not gone away.

Silk Road is a thrilling story with the kind of stranger-than-fiction details that can only come from a true story,” Lionsgate VP of acquisitions Lauren Bixby said in a statement. “This movie will keep audiences riveted by its cat and mouse game of a criminal mastermind being tracked by a hot-headed narc.”