Doc ‘Fair Play’ Available On Demand From Gravitas Ventures July 8

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to distribute Hello Sunshine’s documentary Fair Play and will release it in select theaters and on demand on July 8.

About the unequal division of labor in the home, the documentary is based on the New York Times bestselling book of the same name from author Eve Rodsky.

Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom and featuring interviews with Melinda Gates, C. Nicole Mason and Congresswoman Katie Porter, Fair Play takes viewers into the homes of real families that are on a journey to balance their home life. It doesn’t take long to realize that they aren’t really fighting about dishes in the sink. They are fighting about much bigger issues, problems that affect millions of couples and families across the globe. Immersed in these couples’ lives, the viewer sees their struggles, but also their triumphs. They learn how communication and a plan can have a life-changing impact, creating more connectedness with the most important people in their lives — their families.

“The home presents so small but it speaks to a much larger issue which is about reframing the value of time,” said the book’s author Rodsky in a statement. “Is an hour holding your child’s hand in the pediatrician’s office as valuable as an hour in the boardroom? We believe it is. This film aims to spark a conversation that fosters true fairness and healthy partnerships, starting with our most important organization, the home.”

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“Gravitas is proud to partner with Hello Sunshine in the release of Fair Play in theaters and on VOD this summer,” Bill Guentzler, senior director of acquisitions, said in a statement. “We feel that this documentary can be a game-changer for many people by smartly and entertainingly digging into the dilemma facing many households today, balancing tasks and responsibilities.”

Data: Reese Witherspoon’s ‘Hello Sunshine’ Production Company a Gold Mine to HBO Max, Hulu, Apple TV+

When Reese Witherspoon sold controlling interest in her Hello Sunshine production company to private equity firm Blackstone Group for a reported $900 million, some observers wondered what drove such a high acquisition price.

Now, new data from Diesel Labs finds that shows produced by Hello Sunshine consistently beat other popular streaming/pay-TV titles, including “Mare of Eastown,” “Mrs. America,” and “Mythic Quest,” and bring the largest percentage of new engagement to platforms, including HBO Max, Hulu and Apple TV+.

Hello Sunshine produced “Big Little Lies” (which Witherspoon co-starred in with Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley, among others) for HBO Max; and “Little Fires Everywhere” (co-starring Kerry Washington) for Hulu, and “The Morning Show” (co-starring Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carrel) for Apple TV+.

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While “The Morning Show” is ranked second on Apple TV+, it’s worth noting that “Ted Lasso” is the second most-anticipated show this year across the entire TV landscape. Additionally, the second season of “The Morning Show” has yet to premiere.

“This data indicates that the ability to drive new users to a platform is invaluable in the entertainment industry today,” Diesel Labs said in a statement.

Indeed, Max and Hulu ended the most-recent fiscal period with 43.5 million and 38.5 million subscribers, respectively. Apple doesn’t disclose subscriber numbers but did report 700 million paid subs in its last fiscal report. The tally, which is up 25% from the previous-year period, includes Apple Music, Apple Games, AppleCare and Apple TV+, among others.

Reese Witherspoon Sells ‘Hello Sunshine’ Media Company to Private Equity Group

Reese Witherspoon is selling her 5-year-old Hello Sunshine media company to private equity giant Blackstone Group in a transaction that could be worth as much as $900 million. Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine CEO Sarah Harden will join the yet-unnamed new company board, which will be run by former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs.

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Blackstone is investing $500 million in the transaction for Hello Sunshine assets, which include HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere” and Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show,” among others. Witherspoon, who will receive an equity stake in the new company, will continue to push for female-generated content.

“I’m going to double down on that mission to hire more female creators from all walks of life and showcase their experiences,” Witherspoon said in a media interview. “This is a meaningful move because it really means that women’s stories matter.”

Joe Baratta, global head of private equity at Blackstone, said the growing demand for high-quality content is one of the firm’s “highest-conviction” investment themes.

“Reese is a visionary founder and entrepreneur who has built an extraordinary business with a long runway for continued expansion,” Baratta said.

Mayer, who headed Disney’s launch of Disney+ and ESPN+, among other digital ventures, left the company to head TikTok — a short-lived move after the social media platform found itself in the political crosshairs of former President Trump.

Staggs was the former chief financial officer at Disney and key to the company’s $7.4 billion acquisition of Pixar Animation in 2006, and Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in 2009. Both Mayer and Staggs separately attempted to put themselves in line to become CEO of Disney — a position that ultimately went to company veteran Bob Chapek.

Reese Witherspoon to Star in Pair of Rom-Coms for Netflix

Netflix has reached an agreement with Reese Witherspoon and her company Hello Sunshine to produce two romantic comedy features starring Witherspoon.

Your Place or Mine is based on an original script from Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), who will be making her feature directorial debut. Jason Bateman and Michael Costigan will produce the film through Aggregate Films, as part of their first-look deal with Netflix, alongside Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter for Hello Sunshine and McKenna for Lean Machine. The story follows two long-distance best friends who change each other’s lives when she decides to pursue a lifelong dream and he volunteers to keep an eye on her teenage son.

The Cactus is based on Sarah Haywood’s New York Times bestselling novel of the same name and was Witherspoon’s Book Club pick in June 2019. Witherspoon and Neustadter will produce for Hello Sunshine. In the story, an unexpected pregnancy at 45 causes a reserved woman to rethink the structured life she has created for herself and leads her on an unconventional journey toward love, family and learning to embrace the unexpected.

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“We have been looking for the right feature opportunities to collaborate with Ted Sarandos, Scott Stuber and the entire team at Netflix for a while and we couldn’t be more excited to be working with them on these two romantic comedies,” said Witherspoon in a statement. “Both Sarah Haywood’s and Aline Brosh McKenna’s stories blend everything we love about traditional rom-coms with strong, smart and determined female leads. “

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“Jason and I are thrilled to be producing Aline’s feature directorial debut with our great friends and partners at Netflix, and with a giant talent and friend like Reese and Hello Sunshine,” Michael Costigan said in a statement on behalf of Aggregate Films. “This is the perfect home for our movie, and with the ideal creative partners to be making a sophisticated and very contemporary romantic comedy that we believe global audiences will be excited to see.”

“We are thrilled to work alongside our long-standing partners and friends, Jason and Michael at Aggregate on Your Place or Mine,” said Scott Stuber, head of Netflix Films, in a statement. “They brought us this brilliantly funny romantic comedy from Aline that we immediately fell in love with and can’t wait to work with the Aggregate and Hello Sunshine teams on bringing it to life.

“Reese and her team at Hello Sunshine have made a tremendous mark on the industry and we’re excited to have found two terrific projects to collaborate with them on.”

“I’m the hugest Reese Witherspoon fan on earth, not just of her immense talents as an actor but also her producing skills,” said Brosh McKenna in a statement. “I couldn’t be more excited to direct this movie for Netflix, working alongside Aggregate and Hello Sunshine.”

Reese Witherspoon Launching SVOD Channel on DirecTV Now

Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon is joining the over-the-top video universe.

Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company is bowing two reality-based series on a branded channel via AT&T’s DirecTV Now OTT platform and the telecom’s old-school U-verse pay-TV channel.

The Hello Sunshine channel is available for $10 monthly for three months, after which it jumps to $35 a month.

Beginning July 17, “Shine On with Reese,” follows the “Big Little Lies” star as she interviews successful women, including Dolly Parton, Ava DuVernay, Pink, poet Cleo Wade, Sprinkles founder Candace Nelson and Spanx founder Sara Blakely, author/activist Glennon Doyle and World Cup soccer star Abby Wamback, among others.

“Shine On’ is about experiencing with Reese the stories of exceptional artists, entrepreneurs and leaders who happen to be women, and reveals how their personal journeys are unique yet relatable,” Charlotte Koh, head of digital media and programming at Hello Sunshine, said in a statement. “It epitomizes our goal of telling unexpected stories from interesting women’s perspectives.”

The second series – “Master the Mess” – about dealing with household clutter and hoarding, begins streaming/airing Sept. 4.

Decluttering gurus Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin are The Home Edit, a Nashville-based business that blends comedy with organization. The Home Edit team tackle the pantries, closets, bathrooms and laundry rooms of overwhelmed families.

“Providing an empowering platform for diverse voices is a priority for us,” said Valerie Vargas, SVP advertising and creative services at AT&T. “Our work with Hello Sunshine gives stories about women the spotlight they deserve, which inspires our viewers and drives authentic conversation.”

Viewers can go to att.com/hellosunshine for a sneak peek at the first episode.