Parks: Industry Awards Boost SVOD Platforms

Everyone loves a winner. New research from Parks Associates suggests over-the-top video services — and their large slate of original programming — will benefit as their recognition during awards season in video entertainment continues to expand.

For this year’s Golden Globes, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon earned a total of 47 nominations, nearly double the 25 they received last year, with the three services winning two awards each.

“Apple TV+ streaming service found success with its flagship series ‘The Morning Show,’ starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, which won awards from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Critics’ Choice Award,” analyst Steve Nason said in a statement. “These accomplishments mark Apple TV+’s first industry awards since its launch in November 2019.”

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Nason said awards recognition brings legitimacy to a platform’s original content and can be a significant boost, especially in the early days after its launch.

“Such recognition certainly helped Netflix when the company first ventured into original content, and now the service scored 24 Oscar nominations this year, led by The Irishman and Marriage Story.”

Netflix’s long-term investment in premium original content has helped the service become very difficult for consumers to relinquish, according to Parks.

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Among Netflix subs, 64% feel it would difficult to give up the service, including 47% who feel it would be “very difficult,” the highest among top OTT video services measured by the Dallas-based research company.

Parks finds that as of Q3 2019, pay-TV and OTT services reach roughly the same number of consumers — around 72% of U.S. broadband households. Pay-TV’s long-reigning dominance has dwindled as the OTT video service market booms.

‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Leads Golden Globes as Traditional Studios Dominate Film Categories, Streamers Take a Handful of TV Trophies

Traditional studios led the way in the film categories, while streamers and Pay-TV networks divvied up the TV categories at the 77th Annual Golden Globes ceremony Jan. 5 in a ceremony held in Los Angeles and broadcast on NBC.

The Golden Globes are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and are seen as one of the bigger precursors to the Academy Awards.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood won three Globes, including Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy, Best Screenplay for Quentin Tarantino, and Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt. The film is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digitally from Sony Pictures.

Best Motion Picture — Drama went to Universal Pictures’ World War I film 1917, which was recently released in theaters. The film also won Best Director for Sam Mendes.

South Korea’s Parasite won Best Motion Picture — Foreign Language. Universal Pictures will release the film digitally Jan. 14, and on Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 28.

Best Motion Picture — Animated went to Fox’s Missing Link, now available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital.

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Warner’s Joker won Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama for Joaquin Phoenix, and Best Original Score for Hildur Guðnadóttir. The film, a dark imagining of the origin of the DC Comics Batman villain, is available now digitally, and on Blu-ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Jan. 7.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama went to Renee Zellweger for playing Judy Garland in Judy, which is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally from Lionsgate.

A24’s The Farewell, on Blu-ray, DVD and digital from Lionsgate, won Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy for Awkwafina.

Taron Egerton won Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy for playing Elton John in Rocketman. The film also won Best Original Song for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Rocketman is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digitally.

Netflix did find some love in one movie category, as Marriage Story won Best Supporting Actress for Laura Dern.

Netflix also won in the TV categories with the third season of “The Crown,” as Olivia Colman won Best Actress in a TV Series — Drama after taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth II from Claire Foy, who had previously won for the role in the category during the show’s first season.

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HBO programming won four awards, with “Succession” taking two, winning Best Television Series — Drama for its just concluded its second season, and Brian Cox for Best Actor in a TV Series. The miniseries Chernobyl won Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, with Stellan Skarsgard taking the trophy for best performance by a supporting actor on television.

Amazon Prime Video’s “Fleabag” repeated its Emmy success, taking Best Television Series — Musical or Comedy, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy for creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Hulu series took a couple of trophies as well, with Ramy Youssef of “Ramy” winning Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy, and Patricia Arquette of “The Act” taking the award for best supporting actress on television.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television went to Russell Crowe for Showtime’s The Loudest Voice, on DVD from Paramount and CBS.

FX’s Fosse/Verdon won Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for Michelle Williams, following her Emmy win for the role.

Several presenters and winners took a moment to call attention to the devastating bush fires in Australia. But aside from a smattering of more pointed comments throughout the night, honorees largely avoided the kind of blatant politicizing these kinds of awards ceremonies are often criticized for. Host Ricky Gervais began the event by calling out Hollywood hypocrisy in his opening monologue.

“Apple rolled into the TV game with ‘The Morning Show,’ a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing, made by a company that runs sweatshops in China,” Gervais said to a smattering of shocked laughter. “You say you’re woke but the companies you work for, I mean unbelievable, Apple, Amazon, Disney, if ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call your agent. Wouldn’t you?”

“So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use this as a platform to make a political speech right, you’re in no position to lecture the public about anything,” Gervais continued. “You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So if you win, all right, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent, and your god, and f**k off, OK.”

 

Golden-Globe Winning ‘Parasite’ Due Digitally Jan. 14, on Disc Jan. 28

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release the South Korean black comedy Parasite through digital retailers Jan. 14, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Jan. 28.

Parasite tells the story of a poor Korean family who manipulate a wealthier family into hiring them into indispensable jobs, and then must protect their newfound position from an interloper.

The film earned $23.9 million at the domestic box office and won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign-Language Film. It was directed by Bong Joon-ho, who previously directed The Host and Snowpiercer.

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The Blu-ray and DVD will include a Q&A with director Bong Joon-ho.

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Biopic ‘Harriet’ Coming to Digital Jan. 14, Disc Jan. 28 From Universal

Harriet, a biopic of freedom fighter Harriet Tubman, will journey to digital Jan. 14, and Blu-ray Disc, DVD and on demand Jan. 28 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film, which has earned $42 million at the domestic box office, has been nominated for two 2020 Golden Globe awards, including Best Actress in a Drama for Cynthia Erivo and Best Original Song for “Stand Up,” which was co-written by film star Erivo and Joshuah Campbell. Additionally, the film was nominated for a SAG Award and a Critics Choice Award, earning a total of three Best Actress nominations.

Based on the inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Haunted by memories of those she left behind, Harriet (Erivo) ventures back into dangerous territory on a mission to lead others to freedom. With allies like abolitionist William Still (Leslie Odom Jr.) and the entrepreneurial Marie Buchanon (Janelle Monáe), Harriet risks capture and death to guide hundreds to safety as one of the most prominent conductors of the Underground Railroad.

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The film also stars Joe Alwyn, Vodie Curtis Hall and Vanessa Bell Calloway.

Bonus features include deleted scenes, a deeper look into Harriet Tubman’s story, and feature commentary with director and co-writer Kasi Lemmons.

FandangoNow Launches on Facebook’s Portal TV

FandangoNow, the transactional video-on-demand service from Fandango, has launched the first-ever on-demand movies and TV store on Facebook’s Portal TV.

The new FandangoNow store will provide Portal TV users access to more than 100,000 new release and catalog movies and next-day TV shows to rent or buy, no subscription required.

FandangoNow also offers the largest library of movies and TV shows in 4K, according to the service.

“We’re always looking for new ways to connect fans with the highest quality entertainment content and are proud to be launching the FandangoNow movie and TV store on Portal TV,” said Fandango president Paul Yanover. “We have a long history of working with Facebook to create innovative new experiences for entertainment fans to discover, enjoy and share their passion for movies and TV.”

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FandangoNow on Portal TV will offer content curated by FandangoNow’s sister company, Rotten Tomatoes, a resource for entertainment recommendations. Fans will be able to peruse the “Best Movies of the Decade” and “Top Holiday Movies” according to the Tomatometer, “Rotten Christmas Movies We Love” as suggested by Rotten Tomatoes editors, and more.

FandangoNow also recently launched a movie and TV store on Facebook’s Oculus VR headsets, allowing Facebook audiences to build and access its library of movies and TV shows across the Facebook ecosystem.

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FandangoNow is available on 200 million devices including Roku, smart TVs from LG, Samsung, Vizio, Xbox and many other platforms.

Fans using Portal TV will be able to access FandangoNOW’s collection of Golden Globe-nominated movies and TV shows, which are on sale at 50% off through Dec. 15, using the promo code “GLOBES2020” at checkout (terms apply).

Netflix Leads in Nominations for 77th Golden Globes

In a nod toward the soaring popularity of streaming, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association honored Netflix with 34 Golden Globes nominations — more than any traditional studio or entertainment company.

The award nominations for Netflix were evenly split between movies and original series. On the movie side, Netflix garnered 17 nominations, with Sony Pictures placing a distant second with 10.

Among the Netflix films that were nominated for Golden Globes were Martin Scorsese’s critically hailed mob drama The Irishman and Noah Baumbach’s divorce drama Marriage Story, which picked up five and six noms, respectively.

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Both films were nominated in the Best Motion Picture — Drama category, along with a third Netflix film, The Two Popes. They will complete with DreamWorks’ 1917 (arriving in theaters Dec. 25) and Warner Bros.’ Joker (available digitally Dec. 17 and on disc Jan. 7).

Netflix also picked up one nomination in the Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy category with Dolemite Is My Name, which was also nominated for best actor honors (Eddie Murphy). Other films in the category include Fox’s Jojo Rabbit, Lionsgate’s Knives Out, Sony’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (available now digitally and on disc Dec. 10), and Paramount’s Elton John biopic Rocketman (available on disc and digital).

Netflix also scored well in the TV category with its original series, led by “The Crown” and Unbelievable, each with four nominations.

Noms for “The Crown” include Best Television Series — Drama, Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama  for Olivia Colman, Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Drama for Tobias Menzies, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a TV series for Helena Bonham Carter.

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Unbelievable was nominated for Best Television Limited Series and also picked up noms in that category for best actress (Kaitlyn Dever and Merrit Wever) and best supporting actress (Toni Collette).

The newly launched Apple TV+ picked up three nominations for “The Morning Show,” for Best Television Series — Drama and best actress honors for Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

Other nominees for Best Television Series — Drama include HBO’s “Big Little Lies” and “Succession,” and BBC America’s “Killing Eve.”

Nominees for Best Television Series — Musical or Comedy were HBO’s “Barry,” Amazon Prime Video’s “Fleabag” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and Netflix’s “The Kominsky Method” and “The Politician.”

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television nominees in addition to Unbelievable include Hulu’s Catch-22, HBO’s Charnobyl, FX’s Fosse/Verdon and Showtime’s The Loudest Voice.

HBO was the top cable or broadcast outlet, with 15 TV nominations, second to Netflix’s 17.

The media duly noted the streamers’ success. “Is Hollywood a streaming town? The answer seems to be yes,” the Wall Street Journal remarked in its story on the nominations.

Variety echoed those sentiments, noting that the “nominations are a sign of a new world order in Hollywood, one that is increasingly dominated by streaming services.”

And the New York Post, in its typical blunt fashion, observed, “The 2020 Golden Globe nominations sent a clear message … to broadcast television: You’re toast. ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC were completely shut out of the major-category TV nominations … with streaming platforms (Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV+) and cable (HBO, BBC America, Showtime) dominating the field of contenders.”

The 77th annual Golden Globes ceremony will air on NBC Jan. 5. A full list of nominees is available here.

‘Fleabag’ Star, Creator Inks Amazon Studios Production Deal

Fresh off its surprise six Emmy wins, episodic series “Fleabag” creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge has signed a production deal with Amazon Studios.

Waller-Bridge’s breakout hit won Outstanding Comedy Series, with the actress also picking up Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series as well.

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“As evident in her great success at the Emmy Awards this week, [Waller-Bridge] is clever, brilliant, generous and a virtuoso on multiple fronts, including writing, acting and producing,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said in a statement.

Waller-Bridge is no newcomer to industry accolades. She was the writer and showrunner of the first season of BBC America’s award-winning (BAFTA, Peabody) series “Killing Eve,” starring Sandra Oh.

The show also earned Waller-Bridge — a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts — Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for writing. Oh won a Golden Globe for her performance in the series.

Notably, Waller-Bridge appeared as a droid in Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story.

She has also joined the writing team for the 25th James Bond film, No Time to Die, starring Daniel Craig and directed by Cary Fukunaga (“True Detective”).

 

Best Animated Film Oscar Nominee ‘Mirai’ Coming to Disc and Digital April 9 From Universal

The Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Film, Mirai, is coming out on Blu-ray combo pack, DVD, digital (including Movies Anywhere) and on demand April 9 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The Japanese film follows a young boy who embarks on a fantastical journey when his new baby sister is born and learns the importance of family. The voice cast includes John Cho, (Star Trek, Searching), Rebecca Hall (The TownChristine), and Daniel Dae Kim (“LOST,” “Hawaii Five-0”).

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Mirai is the first animated feature from Japan to garner a Golden Globe nomination for Best Animated Feature and is the 2019 Annie Award winner for Best Animated Feature — Independent.

Bonus features on Blu-ray and digital include Japanese cast interviews, in which the cast of the original language version of Mirai is interviewed by host Hiroyuki Amano; “Mirai at Cannes Film Festival,” in which director Mamoru Hosoda and Moka Kamishiraishi (voice of Kun) attend the Cannes Film Festival for the world premiere of Mirai; “The New World of Mamoru Hosoda,” a behind-the-scenes look at Studio Chizu with Hosoda as he builds a new world for Mirai; “Mirai in Japan,” in which the  the director and cast of Mirai greet audiences across Japan following the release of the film; “Mamoru Hosoda Visits Toyoma Prefecture,” in which Gen Hoshino (voice of Father) gets a special tour of Studio Chizu guided by the director; and a message from the director and Japanese cast of Mirai to their future selves.

Bonus features on Blu-ray, digital and DVD include an interview with the director; “Visiting Studio Chizu,” in which Gen Hoshino (voice of Father) gets a special tour of the studio guided by the director; trailers and TV spots.

‘The Wife’ Taps Into the Times, Say Filmmakers

Watching Glenn Close in The Wife is like waiting for a long-simmering teapot to explode.

The film is available now on digital, DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Close — who plays the wife of an acclaimed author who’s had more influence on his success than anyone knows — has cleaned up during awards season, garnering Screen Actors Guild, Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe awards, among other plaudits.

It’s a performance that also happens to capture the zeitgeist.

“We just happen to have gotten the movie made right on the cusp of the Times Up movement, so finally, the magical slot where pissed off women are the new black,” noted screenwriter Jane Anderson, who adapted the novel by Meg Wolitzer.

The story follows Joan and Joe Castleman, married for nearly 40 years, as they experience the pinnacle of Joe’s success as a novelist when he wins the Nobel Prize. Through flashbacks with a young Joe and Joan, the audience is privy to just how much of that success is attributable to Joan, who makes a pact with the man she loves to achieve their respective desires.

Close’s daughter Annie Starke plays the young Joan, a part she wasn’t initially keen on playing.

“Honestly, when I was first approached about it, I was like no, no, no, no, no,” Starke said.

But as a fan of Anderson’s and after reading the book, her two grandmothers came to mind.

“They were both married quite young, and they took a back seat to my grandfathers,” she said. “My dad’s mom in particular had an extraordinary career. She was a chemist in the 1940s. She actually worked on the Manhattan Project and when she got pregnant, she got fired, and she also worked for GE and was part of the team that literally invented fluorescent lighting.”

Her other grandmother, her mother’s mom, had regrets.

“She never went to college,” Starke said. “She was truly one of the most brilliant women that I’ve ever had the honor of knowing.

“When she was older and unfortunately about to pass she told my mom, she told me, ‘I haven’t done anything with my life.’ And still to this day I get heart pangs when I think about it. And so honestly it was a project that made me think about the incredible women that I have the honor of saying that I am related to and for this to be, at least for me, an homage to who they were. I think I would have been an absolute idiot to have passed that up, and I’m so glad that I didn’t.”

Close and her daughter collaborated on the character.

“We had hours of conversations,” Starke said, including “a lot of deep conversations about who Joan is, what makes her tick.”

Playing the younger version of a woman played by your actual mother involved seeing her parent in a new way, Starke added.

“I would just straight up observe my mom,” Starke said. “I tried to get her mannerisms a little bit, like her way of walking. We kind of sized each other up in ways we never sized each other up before.”

Novelist Wolitzer noticed the way the actors and filmmakers changed things to translate the book to film.

“The quiet in the film was so amazing to me because the book, if you read the book, is not a quiet book. It’s kind of loud. She’s kind of letting loose. She’s letting it rip for the first time, and you’re present for it,” Wolitzer said. “It was so interesting how so much was in this quiet space.”

She said she found herself searching over the actors’ faces because the “actors really kind of convey [the emotions in the book] through the face.”

Close, in particular, added her own touch to the screenplay.

“I rewrote that final scene about three times,” Anderson said, incorporating notes from Close about how a long-married couple might shift from intimacy to anger.

“Writing for Glenn is a really exciting process, because she doesn’t give up,” Anderson said.

“As the writer of a novel, to have your book made into a film by such major talent in every major part is a true honor,” Wolitzer said.

Amazon Ups Q4 Online Sales 13% to $39.8 Billion

Amazon Jan. 31 said it increased fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018) online sales 13% to $39.8 billion from $35.3 billion during the previous-year period. Online sales include media products sold in physical (DVD/Blu-ray Disc) and digital formats, including books, games, videos and software.

Subscription revenue, which includes Prime (and Prime Video) memberships, audiobooks, e-books, digital music and other non-Amazon Web Services revenue, increased 25% to $3.95 billion, compared to $3.17 billion last year.

Other home entertainment highlights in the quarter included the launch of IMDb Freedive, an ad-supported VOD channel available in the U.S. on the IMDb website via laptop or personal computer and on all Fire TV devices.

Prime Video became available on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 in the U.S., giving Prime members with Xfinity access to thousands of additional premium shows and movies online. Additionally, Amazon launched NBA League Pass and PGA Tour Live on Prime Video Channels.

Prime members can now stream out-of-market NBA games live or on-demand with a subscription to NBA League Pass for $28.99/month or $169.99 for a Season Pass. Prime members in the U.S. can also subscribe to PGA Tour Live to watch live coverage across 28 PGA tournaments per year for $9.99/month or $64.99 per season.

Amazon Studios’ Cold War was recognized for three Academy Award nominations – Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director for Pawel Pawlikowski, and Best Cinematography for Lukasz Zal.

Amazon Studios was recognized with 10 Golden Globe Awards nominations and two wins: Rachel Brosnahan won Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical for her performance in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” for the second year in a row and Ben Whishaw won Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television for his role in “A Very English Scandal.”

Prime Video Original Series, “Inside Edge” became the first Indian show from a video streaming service to be nominated for the International Emmy Awards.

Prime Video introduced localized Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu language user interfaces in India. Prime members can now stream movies titles and original series with a Hindi, Tamil, or Telugu user interface, including search, navigation, browse, and customer support.