Netflix Mounts Game Competition for ‘Immortal’ Account to Promote ‘The Old Guard’

To celebrate the release of the Netflix action film The Old Guard, starring Charlize Theron, Netflix has announced a nationwide U.S. competition for an “Immortal” Netflix account (1,000 months of subscription, or 83 years).

Consumers can win the account by obtaining the highest score in an original The Old Guard video game (www.oldguardgame.com), where they play as a Labrys-wielding immortal and defeat hordes of enemies.

The competition will be held for three days, July 17, 18 and 19. Whoever reigns as No. 1 once at the end of the three days get the “Immortal” account.

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The Old Guard video game

The Old Guard, based on a graphic novel by Greg Rucka, is a Netflix original film that follows a covert team of noble mercenaries. When their mysterious inability to die is suddenly exposed, they must fight to keep their identity a secret just as an unexpected new member is discovered. The film stars Charlize Theron who plays Andy (or Andromache of Scythia), one of the oldest and most seasoned immortals on a mission to save her crew. The film also stars Kiki Layne and is directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.

The Old Guard debuted on Netflix July 10.

Report: Netflix Captured 62.6% of Global Demand for Originals in Q2

Netflix’s original series commanded more audience demand in the second quarter of 2019 than originals of any other streaming platform in the world, according to Parrot Analytics’ second quarter Global TV Demand Report.

With 62.6% of global demand for digital original series, Netflix is the leader. Still, its global market share was down 3.1% from its Q1 result of 64.6% and down 9% from its 2018 71% full-year result.

Parrot Analytics, the leading television data analytics firm focused on gauging trends and demand for content around the world, examined the demand share for global SVOD platforms, digital original series popularity, and the market-specific genre demand shares in Q2 2019 in its Q2 Global Television Demand Report. The report features market-specific analyses including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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“With Netflix taking the lion’s share of global demand for its original series, it’s not surprising that in the second quarter of this year the service continues to lead in the drama genre for most markets,” commented Samuel Stadler, VP of marketing, Parrot Analytics, in a statement. “’Lucifer’ has come out on top in six markets examined and ‘Stranger Things’ was the most in-demand digital original in the U.S. and South Korea for Q2. We expect ‘Stranger Things’ will have a sizable impact on overall platform demand for Netflix in the U.S. and other key markets in the third quarter.”

Sci-fi dramas were the most in-demand in half of the markets analyzed, while superhero, crime dramas and comedy dramas also showed increased demand, respectively, across all 10 markets, according to the report. In the popular action/adventure genre category, DC Universe originals beat out Netflix originals in demand share in the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Taiwan.

Netflix Renews ‘Stranger Things’ for Fourth Season, Inks Deal With Creators the Duffer Brothers

Netflix has renewed the series “Stranger Things” for a fourth season and has signed series creators and showrunners the Duffer brothers to a multi-year film and series overall deal.

“The Duffer brothers have captivated viewers around the world with ‘Stranger Things and we’re thrilled to expand our relationship with them to bring their vivid imaginations to other film and series projects our members will love,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a statement. “We can’t wait to see what the Duffer brothers have in store when they step outside the world of The Upside Down.”

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The Duffer Brothers

“We are absolutely thrilled to continue our relationship with Netflix. Ted Sarandos, Cindy Holland, Brian Wright, and Matt Thunell took a huge chance on us and our show — and forever changed our lives,” said the Duffer brothers in a statement. “From our first pitch meeting to the release of ‘Stranger Things 3,’ the entire team at Netflix has been nothing short of sensational, providing us with the kind of support, guidance, and creative freedom we always dreamed about. We can’t wait to tell many more stories together — beginning, of course, with a return trip to Hawkins!”

“Stranger Things” is a Netflix Original Series about mysterious happenings in a small town. The Duffer brothers serve as executive producers on the series alongside Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen of 21 Laps Entertainment and Iain Paterson.

Netflix to Produce Danish Series Based on Novel From Creator of ‘The Killing’

Netflix will produce its second Danish original series, “The Chestnut Man,” based on the debut novel by writer Søren Sveistrup (“The Killing”).

The series will debut exclusively on Netflix worldwide. Production is slated to begin in Denmark in 2020 with the executive production team SAM Productions, which is also behind the coming Norwegian Netflix original series “Ragnarok.”

Netflix made the announcement at the Copenhagen TV Festival.

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“The Chestnut Man” is set in the quiet suburb of Copenhagen, where the police make a terrible discovery one October morning. A young woman is found brutally murdered in a playground and one of her hands is missing. Above her hangs a small man made of chestnuts. The ambitious young detective Naia Thulin is assigned to the case, along with her new partner, Mark Hess. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man — evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and was presumed dead — the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung.

“Netflix has shown a strong, genuine interest in my book and I’m excited about the deal and confident that Netflix will be the perfect place for ‘The Chestnut Man,’” said Sveistrup in a statement.

“We are looking very much forward to bringing Søren’s amazing international bestseller to the screen, and we are very excited and proud to announce the continuation of our good collaboration with Netflix,” said Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen, executive producer at SAM Productions, in a statement. “The novel has been translated into 28 languages and it’s being published in more than 50 countries, we are therefore thrilled to be able to release this original Danish story, in the Danish language, worldwide with Netflix as our partner.”

“After the success of ‘The Rain,’ we are excited to announce our next Danish Original which will be building on the great tradition of Nordic Noir,” said Tesha Crawford, director Netflix international originals Northern Europe. “We were instantly compelled by the strong story and Søren’s voice. We are happy to continue the collaboration with SAM Productions and are looking forward to bringing ‘The Chestnut Man’ to our global audience.”

“The Chestnut Man” is a character-driven thriller drama and has its roots in the Nordic noir genre. The series is composed of six, 50-minute episodes. The launch date is yet to be announced.

Netflix Orders ‘The Sandman’ Series Based on Neil Gaiman Comics

Netflix has ordered 10 episodes of the Warner Bros. Television series “The Sandman” based on Neil Gaiman’s DC comic book series.

A blend of modern myth and fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are interwoven, “The Sandman” follows the people and places affected by Morpheus, the Dream King, as he mends the cosmic — and human — mistakes he’s made during his vast existence.

The writer/showrunner/executive producer will be Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman, “Grey’s Anatomy”) with Gaiman (Good Omens, Coraline) and David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, “Krypton”) writing and executive producing. Gaiman, Heinberg and Goyer will co-write the first episode.

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“We’re thrilled to partner with the brilliant team that is Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg to finally bring Neil’s iconic comic book series ‘The Sandman ’ to life onscreen,” said Channing Dungey, VP of original series at Netflix, in a statement. “From its rich characters and storylines to its intricately built-out worlds, we’re excited to create an epic original series that dives deep into this multi-layered universe beloved by fans around the world.”

Netflix Announces a Series of Features, Including Lin-Manual Miranda’s Directorial Debut

Netflix June 19 announced several features for its upcoming slate, including Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut.

Tony, Grammy, Emmy and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, lyricist and actor Miranda (Hamilton) will direct Imagine Entertainment’s film adaptation of Tick, Tick … Boom!, to which Netflix has acquired worldwide rights. Tony Award winner Steven Levenson (Dear Evan Hansen, Fosse/Verdon) will adapt the screenplay based on the original stage show by the late Rent (Pulitzer Prize winner for drama in 1996) creator Jonathan Larson.

Set in 1990, Tick, Tick…Boom! tells the story of Jon, an aspiring theater composer who is waiting tables in New York City while writing Superbia — which he hopes will be the next great American musical and finally give him his big break. Jon is also feeling pressure from his girlfriend Susan, who is tired of continuing to put her life on hold for Jon’s career aspirations. Meanwhile, his best friend and roommate Michael, has given up on his creative aspirations for a high-paying advertising job on Madison Avenue and is about to move out. As Jon approaches his 30th birthday, he is overcome with anxiety — wondering if his dream is worth the cost.

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Netflix also announced the live action family movie The Main Event, set to premier on the service in 2020. It’s based on an original screenplay by Larry Postel, directed by Jay Karas and produced by WWE Studios’ Richard Lowell. WWE Studios is WWE’s multi-platform content division that develops and produces scripted and non-scripted series, documentaries and feature films.

The film follows an 11-year-old aspiring wrestler who, after discovering a magical mask, enters a competition to become the next WWE superstar. It stars Seth Carr (Black Panther), Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood, “Everybody Hates Chris”), Adam Pally (“The Mindy Project”) and Ken Marino (The Other Two, Black Monday, Bad Milo), alongside WWE superstars Kofi Kingston, The Miz and Sheamus, among others.

Netflix will adapt August Wilson’s play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom into a feature film starring  Academy Award winner Viola Davis (Widows, Fences), Chadwick Boseman (42, Get On Up, Black Panther), Emmy Award winner Glynn Turman (“How to Get Away With Murder”), Tony and Olivier Award Nominee Colman Domingo (If Beale Street Could Talk), and Michael Potts (Show Me a HeroTrue Detective). Academy Award winner Denzel Washington (who starred with Davis in the feature adaptation of Wilson’s Fences), Academy Award Nominee Todd Black and Dany Wolf will produce.

The story follows Ma Rainey, the “Queen of the Blues.” While making a record in a studio in Chicago, 1927, tensions boil between her, her white agent and producer, and bandmates.

Finally, Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis (Five Feet Apart and The Curse of La Llorona) are adapting the horror-fantasy children’s book Nightbooks by J.A. White for Netflix. The story follows Alex, a boy obsessed with scary stories, who is trapped by a witch in her modern, magical New York City apartment. His original hair-raising tales are the only thing keeping him safe as he desperately tries to find a way out of the twisted place.

Co-Writer of Disney’s Oscar-Winning ‘Coco’ to Oversee ‘Narnia’ Series for Netflix

Matthew Aldrich, co-writer of Disney’s Oscar-winning animated film Coco, will oversee the development and creative for Netflix’s upcoming live-action adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, the SVOD service announced.

Aldrich will work across both series and film and serve as a creative architect on all projects under the deal.

Aldrich most recently co-wrote Coco for Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and grossed more than $800 million worldwide.

Last October, Netflix and The C.S. Lewis Company announced a multi-year deal for Netflix to develop stories from across the “Narnia” universe into series and films for its members worldwide. All series and films produced through the deal will be Netflix productions, with Mark Gordon of Entertainment One (eOne) alongside Douglas Gresham and Vincent Sieber serving as executive producers for the series and as producers for the features.

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In total the “Narnia” books have sold more than 100 million copies and have been translated into more than 47 languages worldwide, according to Netflix.

Netflix Makes Deal with Russo Brothers for Animated Series Based on ‘Magic: The Gathering’

Netflix is joining forces with Joe and Anthony Russo, Wizards of the Coast, and Hasbro’s Allspark Animation to bring the game franchise “Magic: The Gathering” to the screen for the first time in the franchise’s 25-year history with an animated series of the same name.

The Russos (Avengers: Infinity WarsAvengers: Endgame) will oversee the creation of a new storyline and expand on the stories of the Planeswalkers, the franchise’s magic-wielding heroes and villains. They will also executive produce the series.

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Created in 1993, the “Magic” franchise has connected with more than 38 million fans over the last 25 years and has been published in 11 languages and played in over 70 countries. Fans currently experience the series through the tabletop trading card game, the digital game Magic: The Gathering Arena, a New York Times bestselling novel, a comic book series and professional esports league.

The “Magic: The Gathering” animated series will feature creative talent from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, “Batman: The Animated Series,” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” Firefly, “Agent Carter,” Ultimate Spider-Man and the Lego movies.

“We have been huge fans and players of Magic: The Gathering for as long as it has been around, so being able to help bring these stories to life through animation is a true passion project for us,” said Joe and Anthony Russo in a statement.

“Working with Joe and Anthony, Wizards of the Coast, and Netflix on such a universally cherished brand is a real highlight for our studio,” stated Isaac Krauss, CEO of Octopie, which will oversee production of the series. “Our goal is to not only tell a compelling story leveraging ‘Magic: The Gathering’s’ incredible body of work, but to also push the medium and perception of storytelling through animation. This series will cross the genres of suspenseful thriller, horror, and drama with deeply developed characters the likes of which are not often seen in animation.”

“More fans are enjoying ‘Magic’ now than at any time in its 25-year history thanks to the enduring popularity of the tabletop game and our latest release War of the Spark, as well as the incredible success of our new digital game, Magic: The Gathering Arena.” said Chris Cocks, president of Wizards of the Coast, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with Joe and Anthony Russo to bring ‘Magic: The Gathering’s’ rich and diverse cast of characters and worlds to Netflix in a way that will delight our many fans and those new to the franchise.”

“’Magic’ is a beloved global franchise with a massively engaged fan base that has only continued to grow over the last 25 years,” said John Derderian, head of anime programming for Netflix, in a statement. “There’s no one better suited to bring this story to audiences around the world than Joe and Anthony Russo, whose talent for genre storytelling is unmatched, as demonstrated by their central role in creating some of the biggest box office hits of all time.”

Netflix Acquires Kids Property StoryBots

Netflix has acquired the StoryBots property, the Emmy, Annie, and Parents’ Choice award-winning children’s media brand created by Gregg and Evan Spiridellis.

The brothers have entered into an overall deal with Netflix to significantly expand the universe of the StoryBots. Netflix and the Spiridellis brothers will produce more StoryBots original programming, such as series and short form specials, while also expanding the brand into new areas, according to a Netflix press release.

“The acquisition is a sign of Netflix’s commitment to bring educational content to its growing member base of kids and families around the world,” according to the release.

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The audience for the Netflix original animated series “Ask the StoryBots” has “grown significantly year over year since it first started streaming in 2016,” according to the release.

The series makes use of multiple formats, including 3D, 2D, claymation, stop motion and live action and features guest stars such as Snoop Dogg, Edward Norton, Whoopi Goldberg and Wanda Sykes. It takes kids on a journey to seek answers to questions such as, “Why is the sky blue?” and “How does night happen?”

“’Ask The StoryBots’ has a proven track record of synthesizing complex subjects into bite-sized lessons that are funny and entertaining for young kids and satisfying for parents,” said Netflix VP of original animation Melissa Cobb in a statement. “We are thrilled to welcome Gregg and Evan into the Netflix family and look forward to building out the wonderful and whimsical StoryBots world, finding new ways to delight our growing member base of families around the world.”

“Together with Netflix, our goal is to make StoryBots the leading educational entertainment brand for connected kids and families globally,” said StoryBots co-founders Evan and Gregg Spiridellis in a statement. “We want kids from Argentina to Zambia growing up laughing and learning with StoryBots that feel native to their culture. We see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring something epically good into the world.”

Season three of “Ask the StoryBots” launches on Netflix this Fall.

Netflix Plans ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ Interactive Special

Netflix has ordered an “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” interactive special, according to the SVOD service.

The Universal comedy series, created and executive produced by Tina Fey, stars Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski and Carol Kane.

“We’re thrilled to announce that we’re about to start production on an all-new interactive ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ special, set to debut on Netflix in 2020,” said Fey at the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” FYSEE panel in New York City May 8. “’Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ was one of the first original comedy series on Netflix, and now it will be its first interactive comedy event. Fans will be able to make choices on behalf of our characters, taking different story paths with, of course, different jokes. I think it’s a great fit for our show and will be a great way to officially complete the series.”

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“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” has earned 18 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series for each of its seasons.