Netflix Orders Two-Part Final Season for ‘Ozark’

Netflix has renewed the family crime drama “Ozark” for a 14-episode final season that will be presented in two batches of seven episodes each. The debut dates for the season have not yet been announced.

The fourth and final season of “Ozark” will conclude the story of the Byrde family’s journey from suburban Chicago life to attempting to establish a criminal enterprise in the Ozarks of Missouri.

Follow us on Instagram!

Emmy Award nominee Chris Mundy will return as showrunner, writer and executive producer, joined behind the camera by series star Jason Bateman, who previously won an Emmy for directing on the show. Other returning cast members include Laura Linney, Julia Garner (who won an Emmy for the second season), Sofia Hublitz, Skylar Gaertner, Charlie Tahan and Lisa Emery.

“We’re so happy Netflix recognized the importance of giving Ozark more time to end the Byrdes’ saga right,” Mundy said in a statement. “It’s been such a great adventure for all of us — both on screen and off — so we’re thrilled to get the chance to bring it home in the most fulfilling way possible.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The previous three seasons of the show ran for 10 episodes each.

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.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“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. “

Follow us on Instagram

“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.”

Warner Sets HBO’s ‘The Outsider’ for DVD and Blu-ray Release

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the first season of HBO’s “The Outsider” on Blu-ray and DVD July 28. The 10-episode limited series is available now to buy through digital retailers.

Based on the bestselling Stephen King novel, the mystery series follows a seemingly straightforward investigation into the gruesome murder of a local boy. When 11-year-old Frankie Peterson’s body is found mutilated in the Georgia woods, police detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) sets out to investigate — with eyewitnesses and physical evidence pointing to Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman), a popular high school teacher, Little League coach, doting husband and father. While the case appears ironclad, Ralph is baffled by the emergence of contradictory evidence that places his suspect in a neighboring city at the time of the murder. The mysterious set of circumstances surrounding this horrifying crime leads Ralph, a seasoned cop still grieving the recent death of his own son, to bring in unorthodox private investigator Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo), whose uncanny abilities he hopes will help explain the unexplainable.

The cast also includes Bill Camp, Mare Winningham, Paddy Considine, Julianne Nicholson, Yul Vázquez, Jeremy Bobb and Marc Menchaca.

Follow us on Instagram

The Outsider: The Complete First Season DVD and Blu-ray will offer more than 40 minutes of behind-the-scenes bonus content, including the featurette “El Cuco. The Bab Yaga. The Outsider,” about the real-world origins and supernatural abilities of the being at the center of the story.

Other extras include the featurettes “Invitation to Set,” “Stephen King and The Outsider,” “Jason Bateman and The Outsider” “Adapting The Outsider,” “Analyzing Holly Gibney” and “The Outsider: Inside Episodes 1-10.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Update (4/27/20): The original street date of June 9 was changed to July 28 by Warner.

Netflix Reconsidering Georgia Film, TV Productions

Netflix reportedly is reconsidering its massive investment in movie and TV show productions in the state of Georgia after Gov. Brian Kemp signed an anti-abortion law there on May 8.

The action by the SVOD behemoth, which has more than 150 million subscribers globally and spends tens of millions on productions in Georgia, could be a catalyst for Hollywood studios to up heretofore tepid responses to the legislation.

Georgia’s anti-abortion law, which goes into effect in 2020, would ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy — a timeline by which the law’s critics say most woman wouldn’t know they’re pregnant. Currently the ban is after 20 weeks.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” CCO Ted Sarandos said in a statement first reported by The Wrap. “It’s why we will work with the ACLU and others to fight it in court.”

Sarandos reiterated that until the law actually goes into effect, Netflix would continue to produce content in Georgia, while supporting partners and artists who choose not to.

“Should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia,” he said.

Current Netflix productions in the Peach state include original series “Ozark,” “Insatiable,” and feature film Holidate, among others.

“Ozark” star Jason Bateman has already stated publicly that he would no longer work in Georgia should the law go into effect.

“If the ‘heartbeat bill’ makes it through the court system, I will not work in Georgia, or any other state, that is so disgracefully at odds with women’s rights,” Bateman said in a statement.

Georgia Gov. Kemp Attempts to Mollify Hollywood After Signing Anti-Abortion Law

After scuttling a planned May 22 visit to Hollywood studios in Los Angeles, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp the next day visited local production facilities to thank them for doing business in the Peach state.

Thanks to lucrative tax incentives, film and TV productions employ more than 5,000 people in Georgia, reportedly generating a $9.5 billion fiscal economic impact in 2017, including $2.7 billion in direct spending.

The state trailed only Canada as primary production home for the 100 top-grossing domestic films in 2017. It was home to more than 455 productions in 2018, according to the governor’s office.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The PR tour was in response to growing backlash following Kemp’s May 7 signature of an anti-abortion “heartbeat bill” that prohibits a woman from terminating a pregnancy after six weeks — a time period before many women even know they’re pregnant.

Georgia currently bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill, which goes into effect in 2020, would also allow authorities to investigate women who miscarry.

While initial reaction in Hollywood was limited compared to a previous attempt by Georgia lawmakers to ban same-sex marriage, producers, directors and actors are beginning to speak up.

Actress/activist Alyssa Milano got the ball rolling on social media, delivering a letter to Kemp signed by 50 celebrities who vowed to boycott the state if the bill was signed into law.

Actor Jason Bateman said he would no longer work in the state, which is the production location (Lake Lanier) to his Netflix original series, “Ozark,” among others.

Producers of Amazon Prime Video original series “The Power” reportedly have stopped scouting the state for locations in response to the bill.

“We feel we have to stand up for a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body, and so while this is not a decision we have taken lightly, we feel strongly that it is the right one at this point in time,” Jane Featherstone and Naomi De Pear, said in a statement.

Kristen Wiig and her creative team behind Bridesmaids confirmed to CNN that production of her new comedy, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, had pulled out of Georgia in response to the bill.

CNN reported that Christine Vachon, CEO of Killer Films; David Simon, creator of “The Wire” and “The Deuce”; and Mark Duplass of Duplass Brothers Productions have all said they will not film in Georgia.

Separately, directors J.J. Abrams and Jordon Peele issued a statement in support of “women in Georgia,” adding that they would donate episodic fees of their new series, “Lovecraft Country,” to the ACLU of Georgia and Fair Fight Georgia, an organization seeking to reform state elections.

Kris Bagwell, who runs EUE Screen Gems in Atlanta, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he recently lost a Netflix movie that would have brought about 300 jobs.

“The passage of this law threatens to destroy a significant portion of 11 years of goodwill between Georgia and the national film and television production industry,” Bagwell said. “Isn’t the first rule of job creation ‘Don’t shoot the jobs you already created?’”

Kemp, in response, contends he’s keeping a campaign promise to stop abortions.

“We value and protect innocent life in Georgia — even though that makes C-list celebrities squawk,” the governor told a recent GOP convention in Savannah.

Netflix Had a Busy Sunday at TCA

Netflix worked overtime Sunday (July 29) at the Television Critics Association’s Summer 2018 Press Tour announcing two unscripted series, upcoming launch dates for four series and first-look trailers of other pending titles.

The TCA Summer Press Tour runs through Aug. 8 with studios and distributors – notably digital – announcing new fall content launches.

Netflix, which is spending $8 billion on original content this year, announced new cooking series, “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat”, which begins streaming Oct. 19; “The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell” and “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” both bowing Oct. 26; “The Kominsky Method” (Nov. 16); and “Chef’s Table” Season 5, which launches Sept. 28.

Based on Samin Nosrat’s best-selling, James Beard Award-winning book, “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” bills itself as the essential guide to the basic elements of good cooking.

Baker and artist Christine McConnell welcomes viewers into her home in “The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell”,baking, sculpting and sewing delectable confections and hauntingly disturbing decor with the help of her colorful collection of creatures.

“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” starring Kiernan Shipka, re-imagines the original “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” series as a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult and, of course, witchcraft.

Oscar winners Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin star as two friends in “The Kominsky Method” tackling life’s inevitable curveballs as they navigate their later years in Los Angeles, a city that values youth and beauty.

Tony Danza returns to the small screen as “The Good Cop”, a lovable yet not exactly honorable, former NYPD officer who never followed the rules.

Other titles include the Aug. 17 release of Matt Groening’s animated series “Disenchantment,” teen shape-lifting series“The Innocents.”

Other content announcements included limited series, “Madam C.J. Walker,” starring and executive produced by Oscar winner Octavia Spencer; “White Lines” from the producers of “The Crown” and “La Casa de Papel”; and limited series, “Maniac” launching Sept. 21.

The SVOD behemoth also officially announced the second season of “Ozark,” co-starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as ethically-challenged parents on the run from organized crime.

 

Game Night

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Warner;
Comedy;
Box Office $68.85 million;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for language, sexual references and some violence.
Stars Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Chelsea Peretti, Danny Huston, Michael C. Hall, Kyle Chandler.

The premise behind Game Night is simple yet solid: A group of friends gets together to play some board games, only to have the party interrupted by criminals, involving them in a caper they believe to be a more-elaborate game.

And sometimes, having an entertaining time with a movie doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. Think of it as David Fincher’s The Game mixed with the comedic sensibilities of The Hangover.

The premise allows room to build jokes around the quirks of the characters, which only feeds the comedic potential of the premise further. It helps that there are multiple levels of where the game might end and real danger might begin, which makes for some hilarious moments for the characters when they don’t realize where that line is but the audience does.

Game Night was co-directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the team behind the 2015 Vacation remake, for which this is a bit of a step up, and co-writers of amiable fare such as the “Horrible Bosses” movies and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

The cast is charming and the script knows just how long to push a story point before it wears out its welcome, making this a great movie for a cozy evening in or a diverting re-watch with friends in a casual setting.

The Blu-ray includes an effective but short four-minute behind-the-scenes featurette and a funny seven-minute gag reel.

#MeToo Stain Follows Netflix

NEWS ANALYSIS — When allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct resulted in Jeffrey Tambor (who has denied the allegations) being fired from Amazon’s original series “Transplant,” Netflix hoped the backlash against the award-winning actor wouldn’t affect one of its prized shows, “Arrested Development.”

They were wrong.

In what was supposed to be a star-studded media campaign promoting the fifth season of the quirky comedy launching May 29 on Netflix, a May 22 cast interview with The New York Times — featuring Jason Bateman, Jessica Walter, Tambor, Tony Hale, Will Arnett and David Cross — exploded into allegations of harassment against Tambor by Walter — and some cast members defending Tambor.

“In like almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set,” Walter told The Times through tears.

Walter, who played Clint Eastwood’s femme fatale in his 1971 directorial debut, Play Misty for Me, said it was hard to deal with, but that she was “over it now.”

Bateman, whose own wife was allegedly groped by Hotelier André Balazs, made the decision to defend Tambor’s boorish behavior as a byproduct of on-set creativity.

“Not to belittle it or excuse it or anything, but in the entertainment industry it is incredibly common to have people who are, in quotes, ‘difficult,’” Bateman told The Times.

Hales then added fuel to the fire, saying, “I will say, to Jason’s point, we can be honest about the fact that — and not to build a thing — we’ve all had moments.”

To which Walters interjected, “Not like [Tambor’s harassment].”

The backlash on social media was swift and piercing.

“I had to stop reading after the ninth time Jason Bateman interrupted a crying 77-year-old woman (Walter) to say that she was over-reacting to what an entire room of people agreed was abuse,” tweeted Katlin Menza.

“One small but very striking thing from that nyt arrested development interview: Jason Bateman essentially explaining ‘how the industry works’ to Jessica Walter, as if she isn’t an accomplished veteran of the same industry,” wrote David Bynch.

“I feel like Jason Bateman is talking a little too much and [Arrested Development cast member] Alia Shawkat not enough here. You can see a marked difference between men and women and between generations in this interview and how they’re dealing with the allegations against Jeffrey Tambor,” added April Wolfe.

Bateman, who also stars in Netflix original series, “Ozark,”  later apologized on social media, saying, “I’m incredibly embarrassed and deeply sorry to have done that to Jessica. This is a big learning moment for me.”

But Netflix had seen enough. The SVOD behemoth, which this week was briefly valued more on Wall Street than The Walt Disney Co., canceled a planned PR blitz for “Arrested Development” in the United Kingdom.

“At this time, we have decided not to move ahead with promotional activity in the U.K., but hope to bring the cast back at another time,” Netflix said in a statement.

‘Game Night’ Set for May Home Video Release

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has set Game Night for early digital release May 4, and Blu-ray and DVD May 22.

The film, which earned $67.9 million at the domestic box office, stars Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Danny Huston, Chelsea Peretti, Michael C. Hall and Kyle Chandler in comedy about a weekly couples game night that gets kicked up a notch with an elaborate murder mystery party.

The DVD and Blu-ray versions include the featurette “An Unforgettable Evening: Making Game Night.” The Blu-ray also includes a gag reel.

    

Janet McTeer Signed to Facebook Watch Original Series

Upstart over-the-top video service Facebook Watch reportedly has signed two-time Oscar nominee Janet McTeer (Tumbleweeds, Albert Nobbs) to original dark comedy, “Sorry For Your Loss,” also staring (and executive produced by) Elizabeth Olsen (Ingrid Goes West, Martha Marcy May Marlene).

McTeer plays a fitness-obsessed, overbearing mother to young widow Olsen trying to deal with grief, among other issues. The series also stars Kelly Marie Tran and Jovan Adepo.

Ad-supported Facebook Watch, which splits revenue (45%/55%) with content creators, launched last August. Facebook reportedly set aside $1 billion for original content production in 2018.

Earlier this week, Facebook Watch hired ex-Pinterest executive Mike Bidgoli to head the video product unit, in addition to Matthew Henick as head of content planning and strategy.

British-born McTeer is also starring in the second season of Netflix original series, “Ozark,” starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as parents of two young children on the run from the drug cartel.

McTeer plays a Chicago based attorney with links to the cartel. In making a deal with the devil, she becomes a potential threat to the Byrde family.