Hulu Acquires U.S. Rights to ‘Happiest Season’

Streaming service Hulu has acquired U.S. rights to Clea DuVall’s holiday romantic comedy Happiest Season, which will debut as a Hulu Original film on Nov. 25.

Sony Pictures and eOne co-financed the film and will retain distribution rights in Canada and the rest of the world. Overseas plans, including potential theatrical releases, will be finalized in the coming weeks.

The film stars Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Daniel Levy, Mary Holland, Burl Moseley, Victor Garber and Mary Steenburgen. In the film, when Abby (Stewart) learns that Harper (Davis) has kept their relationship a secret from her family, she begins to question the girlfriend she thought she knew.

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“This holiday season — more than any other — we could all use a little happiness. It was essential to Sony Pictures and to the filmmakers that Clea’s marvelous and fresh holiday-themed romantic comedy come out when the lights are on the trees,” Nicole Brown, president of TriStar Pictures, said in a statement. “We are excited that Hulu is geared up to make this happen in the U.S. and grateful that they love the movie as much as we do.”

“With its all-star cast and modern storytelling, Happiest Season brings yet another breakthrough film to Hulu that we know our viewers will love,” Brian Kendig, Hulu director of content acquisition, said in a statement. “We are honored to be the streaming home of this fresh and funny romantic comedy that explores love, family and acceptance this holiday season.”

“I am beyond grateful to Hulu for providing an incredible home for Happiest Season, and I’ll forever cherish my journey with Sony Pictures who felt just as strongly as I did about the value of bringing the first major LGBTQ+ holiday rom-com to audiences,” writer-director DuVall said in a statement. “I’m hopeful that this universal story, told through a unique lens, will join the long list of holiday classics that continue to bring all of us so much joy and happiness.”

Hulu Unveils Originals Lineup

Hulu unveiled its lineup of upcoming original programming during the Television Critics Association’s Winter Press Tour at The Langham Pasadena.

They include “Little Fires Everywhere,” from Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington;High Fidelity,” starring Zoë Kravitz; the television adaptation of Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel Normal People; and the Catherine the Great comedic drama The Great, featuring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult.

The company also announced an upcoming comedy series starring Steve Martin and Martin Short.  From “This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman and co-created by John Hoffman and Martin, the untitled new series puts a comic spin on the ever-popular true crime genre.

“Hulu’s success in Original content is driven by highly curated programming from world class talent,” said Craig Erwich, SVP of originals, Hulu. “From the Steve Martin project, second series orders of ‘Ramy and ‘Dollface,’ to shows like ‘Little Fires Everywhere,’ our momentum in original content is stronger than ever.”

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In 2019, the streaming platform saw a 70% increase in engagement (total hours watched) with its original programming, according to the service.

Hulu also announced the renewal of “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” about the hip-hop music group the Wu-Tang Clan.

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Also unveiled were the first three DreamWorks Animation premieres to be Hulu Originals in 2020: “Madagascar: A Little Wild,” “TrollsTopia”and “The Mighty Ones.” Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo return as kids at the Central Park Zoo in “Madagascar: A Little Wild.” TrollsTopia” will be a new original based off the “Trolls” franchise. And “The Mighty Ones” follows the adventures of a group of creatures: a twig, a pebble, a leaf and a strawberry who live in an unkempt backyard belonging to a trio of equally unkempt humans whom they mistake for gods.

Hulu to Bow Teen Drama Original Series ‘Utopia Falls’

Hulu will premiere the original teen sci-fi drama “Utopia Falls,” with all 10 one-hour episodes of the Hulu Original series hitting the streaming service Feb. 14.

The series, infused with music and dance, is set in the not-too-distant future, amidst the charred ruins of Earth. It follows a group of teens chosen to compete in the prestigious Exemplar performing arts competition in the seemingly idyllic colony of New Babyl. When they stumble upon a hidden archive of cultural relics, they are forced to question everything they have been taught, ultimately using the power of music to ignite change and expose the truth. Showcasing a variety of musical genres and dance styles (Hip Hop, Pop, Latin, House, Classical, Indigenous, among others) and featuring themes of afrofuturism, youth activism and eco-awareness, “Utopia Falls”is the first ever performance based sci-fi series for culturally diverse and socially and politically minded young audiences, according to Hulu.

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The series stars Robyn Alomar (“Riot Girls”), Akiel Julien (“American Gods”), Robbie Graham-Kuntz (“Full Out”), Phillip Lewitski (“Supernatural”), Humberly Gonzalez (“Orphan Black”), Devyn Nekoda (“Degrassi: The Next Generation”and Mickeey Nguyen (“Make It Pop”). Also joining the cast are Kate Drummond (“Wynonna Earp”), Jeff Teravainen (“Dark Matter”), Huse Madhavji (“Saving Hope”) and Dwain Murphy (“The Strain”). Hip hop icon Snoop Dogg is the voice of the Archive.

The series will feature music from artists including Kendrick Lamar, Alessia Cara, The Notorious B.I.G., Dianel Caesar, Jessie Reyez, Bill Withers and The Roots. Grammy Award-w inning, multi-platinum music producer Boi-1da  (Drake, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna) will oversee the music in the series.

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All episodes of “Utopia Falls” will also be available to stream on the CBC Gem streaming service in Canada beginning Feb. 14.