FilmRise Acquires Rights to Holiday Comedy ‘A Christmas Karen’

FilmRise, the New York-based film and television studio and streaming network, has acquired the exclusive worldwide distribution rights, all media, to the holiday-themed comedy A Christmas Karen.

FilmRise will initially release A Christmas Karen to select theaters and digital platforms in North America this November in time for holiday celebrations.

“We look forward to sharing this very clever, comedic twist on Dickens’ classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ with streaming audiences everywhere,” Max Einhorn, SVP, acquisitions and co-productions for FilmRise, said in a statement. “This film represents the type of lighthearted, feel good, funny entertainment we are looking for as we approach the holiday season.” 

Directed by Jon Binkowski and Lisa Enos Smith (Because of Charley), the film tells the story of an entitled egocentric middle-aged woman named Karen. Her demanding and inconsiderate nature has alienated her from her neighbors and family. After a series of instances displaying her privilege and prejudice on Christmas-eve, Karen receives an “intervention” by some unconventional spirits who take her on a journey of self-awareness and self-reflection.

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The film stars Michele Simms (also known as “the over-sharing mom” in the Carvana car TV spots) as Karen, Meghan Colleen Moroney as Jackie, Ashley Jones as Robin, Rolin Alexis as Gary — Ghost of Past, Leyla Lawrence as Joy — Ghost of Present, and Lee Karlinsky as Damon — Ghost of Future, among others.

In statements, Smith said, “Jon and I both agree that while this film shines a harsh light on the lack of civility in our society today; it also illuminates the true grace of redemption for a lost soul” with Binkowski adding, “in a hilarious way.”

FilmRise Acquires Digital Rights to Reality Series ‘Cheaters’

FilmRise, the New York-based film and television studio and streaming network, has acquired digital distribution rights to the reality series “Cheaters” from Goldstein Pictures Corporation. The deal gives FilmRise digital rights worldwide to the entire series. 

The package contains more than 1,000 episodes (692 30-minute episodes and 346 60-minute episodes) in 21 seasons of the reality series where people who think their significant other is cheating on them hire the “Cheaters Detective Agency” hidden camera crew to investigate their suspicions. The series premiered in 2,000 and has been running for more than 20 years.

“There is no better drama than reality TV and no better guilty pleasure than the binge-worthy series ‘Cheaters,'” said Max Einhorn, SVP of acquisitions and co-productions. “As traditional television viewing continues to migrate to streaming, so should this long-running fan favorite.”

In the United States, “Cheaters” is currently available to watch on VH1 and Pluto TV, while FilmRise currently exhibits the series on the FilmRise app and on The Roku Channel and Amazon’s FreeVee (formerly IMDb TV), with more digital platforms to follow in summer 2023.

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“Max Einhorn is indeed ‘Cheaters” unicorn for sure. We’d been talking about this for years, but I was too busy working to slow down long enough to listen and download the opportunity,” Bobby Goldstein, executive producer and creator of the series, said in a statement. “My distributor Jeff Goldman from Octopean asked me what was wrong with me and hit me over the head with his laptop. Now here we are, and I’m loving it!”

FilmRise Acquires Rights to Green Beret’s Feature Film Debut ‘MVP’

FilmRise, the New York-based film and television studio and streaming network, has secured exclusive worldwide rights to former U.S. Army Green Beret Nate Boyer’s directorial feature film debut MVP.

The film will be released theatrically in a combination of sponsored and organically presented on-demand fundraising screenings and special bookings, festivals and organizational screenings in order to promote the non-profit Merging Vets & Players organization, followed by its digital release worldwide.

FilmRise joins the non-profit organization Merging Vets & Players and its partnership with the NFL to launch a nationwide multi-tiered distribution and fund-raising initiative for the film commencing later this summer and running through the upcoming football season. Merging Vets & Players, which Boyer co-founded with Fox Sports NFL Insider personality and mental health advocate Jay Glazer, is supported by the NFL and many of its teams.

“We all face very personal struggles in our lifetime and Nate Boyer’s ability to convey his experiences and share other heroes’ stories in such a universal way on the screen in MVP is something that we at FilmRise are so very proud to support,” FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher said in a statement.

“We’re beyond thrilled to land such a dynamic partner to help share our story with the world,” Nate Boyer said in a statement. “FilmRise is all-in, ready to take the ball and run with it, creating awareness not only for the MVP film but for Merging Vets & Players.”

In the film, on the streets of Hollywood, a recently retired NFL player is saved from scandal by a homeless veteran. With their “glory days” behind them, the two men bond in search of purpose and identity. Shot on location in Los Angeles, MVP dramatizes the formation of Merging Vets & Players. The film features both military veterans and former professional athletes in front of and behind the camera.

Boyer stars in the film, alongside Tom Arnold, Jarrod Bunch, Rich Eisen, Jay Glazer, Talia Jackson, Vietnam Veteran Dan Lauria, Mo McRae, Christina Ochoa and Dina Shihabi. Hall of Fame athletes Randy Couture, Tony Gonzalez, Howie Long and Michael Strahan all make cameos as themselves. Wiz Khalifa also writes and performs the original song “Work4It,” which is included in the film.

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Balboa Production partners Sylvester Stallone and Braden Aftergood executive produce alongside J. Craig, Jay Glazer, Mo McRae, Joe Newcomb, and Shanna and Rob Schanen. Charles Berg, Boyer, Nicholas Gibeault, Weston Scott Higgins, and Jared Hoffman are producers.

Almost half of the crew consisted of veterans and every veteran character represented on screen was played by an actual veteran.

The non-profit empowers combat veterans and former professional athletes by connecting them after the uniform comes off, providing them with a new team to assist with transition, promote personal development, and show them they are never alone. There are currently eight MVP chapters nationwide with more than 2,000 participants.

FilmRise Launching Series ‘BriannaPlayz’ on The Roku Channel

FilmRise June 27 announced it is premiering an original streaming series, “BriannaPlayz,” featuring social media prankster Brianna Arsement, on The Roku Channel in July in the U.S.

The program is digital native content, which aims to incorporate paid advertising within the series. FilmRise said the show expands upon its catalog of digital native content spanning entertainment, lifestyle, gaming, nature, cooking, and how-to, among others.

The launch marks the first time that the online digital series will be available on a streaming service. “BriannaPlayz” will also be available on The Roku Channel in the U.K. The series stitches together the best of Brianna taking viewers into the world of Minecraft as she plays pranks on her friends and family.

“We identified a great untapped opportunity early on — that highly popular online influencers could increase their audience reach and fanbase by converting their online content into long form episodes for streaming platform audiences,” Max Einhorn, SVP of acquisitions and co-productions at FilmRise, said in a statement.

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Ashley Hovey, head of The Roku Channel, AVOD, said the deal underscores a long history between the two companies.

“We are thrilled to be … the first place that the series will be available on off of digital,” Hovey said.

FilmRise’s Digital Native division — led by director of digital content, Bianca Serafini — has secured deals with digital talent agencies, producers and programs, including Night, Brave Wilderness, Above Average and Rooster Teeth, among others.

“Azzyland” features Azra “Azzyland” Bajrami and her lifestyle content, including vlogs, reaction videos, video game play-alongs and collaborations with other content creators.

Rooster Teeth produces several digital series catered to the gaming crowd like first-person shooter themed series Red vs. Blue, summer camp misadventures themed Camp Camp and fantasy series Nomad of Nowhere.

“ZHC” showcases the hyper realistic vision of viral artist and philanthropist Zach Hsieh, a.k.a. ZHC. ZHC and his team of artists perform stunts like painting an entire school inside and out, customizing an entire Apple Store’s worth of gadgets, and detailing a Tesla — all while giving money and prizes away to streamers.

“Brave Wilderness” is a science and nature series that aims to inspire curiosity and advocacy for the natural world. Adventurers and science experts Nataniel “Coyote” Peterson, Mark Vins and Mario Aldecoa lead viewers on a variety of expeditions to dispel myths about dangerous insects, capture the splendor of hiking trails, and introduce rare sea animals, among other features.

Internet-famous Nathan Graham, a.k.a. Unspeakable, attracts family friendly audiences with his wide assortment of mind-blowing challenges, including building the largest Lego tower, playing hide and seek in a trampoline park and filling his house with packing peanuts.

Above Average Presents is founded by executive producer Lorne Michaels, Above Average featuring a series of sketches and interviews hosted by and featuring comedians Tiffany Haddish, Tina Fey, Rashida Jones, Paul Rudd and Jeff Goldblum.

Famous for his engaging personality and visually appealing camerawork, Gustavo Tosta, a.k.a. Guga Foods, shares mouthwatering meat-centric recipes, helpful cooking techniques and inventive food experiments for his hungry audience.

Delivering on their promise that high-quality educational videos should be available to everyone for free, Crash Course has developed subject-based content for 42 individual courses and counting. Subjects include literature, world history, philosophy, biology, theater and much more.

FilmRise Acquires Rights to Two More Seasons of ‘World’s Most Evil Killers’

New York-based film and television studio and streaming network FilmRise has acquired all rights to the recently wrapped sixth and upcoming seventh seasons of Woodcut Media’s long-running true crime docuseries “World’s Most Evil Killers,” represented by Keshet International for world sales.

The deal gives FilmRise exclusive digital SVOD, AVOD and FAST rights domestically to the two seasons, comprising 40 new episodes bumping the overall total to 140 episodes in the series. 

“The success of the first five seasons has shown us that viewers have a voracious appetite for this type of programming and are becoming more and more fascinated with the genre, in large part driven by their availability to watch for free on AVOD platforms such as our FilmRise True Crime app and FAST channels,” Max Einhorn, SVP of acquisitions and co-productions at FilmRise, said in a statement.

“Our ongoing partnership with FilmRise and Woodcut Media’s “World’s Most Evil Killers” continues to be mutually beneficial for all parties involved, not least the viewers,” Keren Shahar, COO and president of distribution at Keshet International, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled with the results the digital distribution has yielded for this brand, particularly on Filmrise’s AVOD platforms and FAST channels, which is part of our on-going strategy to grow the distribution side of KI’s business.”

“World’s Most Evil Killers,”produced by U.K.-based TV production company Woodcut Media and narrated by British-television presenter Fred Dinenage, delves into the true stories of the world’s most prolific killers, including Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacey, Richard Ramirez, Leonard Lake, Dorthea Puente and Ted Bundy, among others. Each episode includes first-hand accounts, interviews, archival footage, reenactments, and in-depth analysis from some of the world’s leading criminologists, crime journalists and psychologists.

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FilmRise had previously acquired U.S. and Caribbean digital distribution rights to the first five seasons of the series, which is currently available on the FilmRise Streaming Network, including on the FilmRise True Crime App and FAST Channel. The series is also available on The Roku Channel, SamsungTV+ and Amazon’s FreeVee, among other services.

FilmRise Licenses 1,000 Hours of Content to Canada’s Bell Media

New York-based film, TV studio and streaming network FilmRise June 9 announced a content licensing pact with Canada’s Bell Media to distribute more than 1,000 hours of movies and TV shows across Bell Media’s ad-supported streaming platform CTV Throwback and CTV digital movie channels on CTV.ca and the CTV app.

The deal includes “Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen,” “Unsolved Mysteries,” “Kitchen Nightmares,” and movies Boyhood and Foxcatcher, among others.

“As consumer interest in AVOD continues to grow, this strategic partnership with Bell Media enables our content to gain more visibility across North America,” Daniel Gagliardi, VP of digital distribution and business development at FilmRise, said in a statement.

“This partnership allows us to deepen our content offering on CTV Throwback and CTV Movies, delivering more titles and more choice for viewers,” added Justin Stockman, VP of content development and programming at Bell Media.

The deal was brokered by Michael Smith of Warbun Consulting.

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FilmRise Names Cristina Guggino Director of Unscripted Production

FilmRise June 6 announced the appointment of Cristina Guggino to the newly created position of director of unscripted production. The announcement was made today by Max Einhorn, SVP of acquisitions and co-productions, to whom Guggino reports at FilmRise.

Cristina Guggino

In her new role, Guggino will oversee unscripted co-productions, original commissioning, and development of unscripted and documentary series. She will also supervise the distributor’s day-to-day operations on existing co-production deals, including the continuation of FilmRise’s original true-crime series “Bloodline Detectives,” hosted by Nancy Grace.

Guggino joins FilmRise from Weinberger Media where she began her career as a researcher and rose through the ranks to become executive in charge of development where she ultimately lead story development for long-running Discovery ID series, “On the Case With Paula Zahn” and the podcast “The Anatomy of Murder.” She also developed the true-crime docuseries “One Deadly Mistake” for Oxygen and served as its supervising producer.

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“Cristina brings an unmatched talent for recognizing stories and characters that have great potential,” Einhorn said in a statement. “Her experience in development, original show ideation, and production oversight will be a huge asset as we continue to expand into producing our own original programming.”

Separately, Katie Carroll, manager of co-productions at FilmRise, will now report directly to Guggino.

FilmRise Acquires Streaming Rights to ‘Gotham Comedy Live’ Stand-Up Specials

FilmRise is expanding its comedy offering with the acquisition of stand-up specials from “Gotham Comedy Live.” The New York-based distributor June 1 announced it has acquired the SVOD and AVOD streaming rights across the FilmRise Streaming Network, including the FilmRise Comedy app.

The deal includes exclusive expansive AVOD and SVOD rights to 127 Gotham Comedy Live specials. Each special features a highly recognizable stand-up comedian filmed live in front of an audience at Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. Performers include the best names in comedy including the late Gilbert Gottfried, Janeane Garofalo, Susie Essman, the late Louie Anderson, Margaret Cho, Sandra Bernhard, David Alan Grier, Mario Cantone, Lewis Black and the late Norm Macdonald, among others.

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“Comedy is something we can always enjoy more of,” Max Einhorn, SVP of co-productions and acquisitions for FilmRise, said in a statement. “We are excited to bring laughter to fans old and new of these brilliant comedians through this iconic brand of stand-up.”

The deal was negotiated by Jonitha Keymoore, VP of global content acquisitions at FilmRise, and Ariel Shnerer, VP of business development at Anthem Sports & Entertainment.

FilmRise Inks Content Deals With Rooster Teeth, Lorne Michaels’ Above Average

New York-based film and TV studio and streaming network FilmRise has inked content deals with Rooster Teeth and Lorne Michaels’ Above Average Presents.

Under the deal with Above Average, a division of Broadway Video, FilmRise will create streaming TV episodes featuring a variety of comedy sketches taken from the more than 40 hours available from the Above Average library. FilmRise will distribute the newly formatted comedy series to all digital platforms as well as feature it on the FilmRise Comedy AVOD App and its FAST Channels. 

“Our deal with Above Average expands our digital native offerings to include comedy with high-profile, high-quality programming,” Max Einhorn, SVP of acquisitions and co-productions at FilmRise, said in a statement. “Above Average is a brand that features some of the biggest names in comedy and has over 8 million subscribers in its network and 2.4 billion views on YouTube.”

“We are thrilled to expand Above Average’s audience to streaming viewers around the world,” Marc Lieberman, president of Above Average, said in a statement. “Since the launch of Above Average, we have watched the network grow exponentially, and are excited to partner with FilmRise’s innovative team to expand our digital footprint worldwide.”

Initially FilmRise will roll out two seasons, consisting of 15 episodes each. Episodes will range from 22 minutes to 30 minutes long. The programs will include comedy sketches from “7 Minutes In Heaven,” featuring talent such as Paul Rudd, Tina Fey, Ellen DeGeneres, Amy Poehler and Andy Samberg, among many others; “Cool Kids’ Table”; “Forgotten Assholes of History”; “Hudson Valley Ballers”; “I Wanna Have Your Baby”; “Is This Okay?”; “Paulilu Mixtape”; “Sound Advice”; “The Idiot’s Guide to Smart People”; “Thingstarter”; and “Waco Valley.”

FilmRise plans to launch the first two season in July 2022.

Under the Rooster Teeth deal, FilmRise has acquired the exclusive SVOD, AVOD and FAST rights to more than 400 episodes across three properties of digital native content from the subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery. The three properties are the first animated series that FilmRise has acquired for the digital native content division.

The deal includes exclusive SVOD, AVOD and FAST rights to all episodes of “Red vs. Blue,” “Camp Camp” and “Nomad of Nowhere.” FilmRise will curate groupings of episodes seasons from each property and package them into traditional half-hour TV style seasons and episodes for streaming audiences.

“We are thrilled to expand our rapidly growing slate of digital-first content with these incredible programs from Rooster Teeth, a digital entertainment pioneer that has created a passionate global fandom and lifestyle brand,” Einhorn said in a statement. “FilmRise recognized early on the huge landscape of talent in the digital native content space. We’re delighted Rooster Teeth will partner with our expansive streaming network to bring their content to wider audiences.”

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“Our partnership with FilmRise provides instant worldwide international distribution and exposure on multiple streaming platforms leveraging our global fan base, expanding our programming into many new territories and bringing new fans into our community,” Geoff Yetter, head of licensing and consumer products at Rooster Teeth, said in a statement.

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“Camp Camp”

“Red vs. Blue” is an animated comedy set against the Halo video game world, chronicling the lives of soldiers on the Red Team and the Blue Team. “Camp Camp” is an animated comedy series surrounding the misadventures of a cynical 10-year-old sent to summer camp against his will. “Nomad of Nowhere” is a Western-fantasy hybrid, following bounty hunters Captain Toth and Skout as they track the Nomad (a non-verbal scarecrow) for his magical capabilities. The series examines the relationship between the two female bounty hunters in the face of the ever-evolving nature of their adventures. All three series were produced in-house by Rooster Teeth’s animation studio in Austin, Texas.

FilmRise Acquires North American Digital Rights to More Than 200 Full Moon Movies

FilmRise April 27 announced the acquisition of digital rights to more than 200 feature films from indie distributor Full Moon Features. The deal grants FilmRise digital TVOD, SVOD, AVOD and FAST rights in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

The deal was negotiated by Jonitha Keymoore, FilmRise VP of global acquisitions, and Charles Band, owner of Full Moon Features.

“Full Moon Features has obtained a large cult following over the many years it’s been producing its signature horror, sci-fi and fantasy films,” Danny Fisher, CEO of FilmRise, said in a statement. “Their multi-title franchises, including Puppet Master, Subspecies and The Gingerdead Man, continue to entertain viewers.”

FilmRise will distribute the catalog across its streaming network, including its branded app, as well as third party digital streaming platforms.

Titles include Trancers, starring Helen Hunt (“Mad About You”) and Art LaFleur (Field of Dreams); The Gingerdead Man, starring Gary Busey (Point Break); Robot Wars, starring Lisa Rinna (“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”), and Unlucky Charms, starring Seth Peterson (Godzilla), among others.

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