Netflix Inks Production Deal With Regina King

Netflix has entered into a multiyear first look deal with director, producer, and award-winning actress Regina King and her production company Royal Ties to produce films and series for the service.

Her sister, Reina King, will serve as head of production of the shingle.

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Named one of Time magazine’s most influential people of 2019, Regina King most recently won an Academy Award for her role as Sharon Rivers in feature film If Beale Street Could Talk as well as an Emmy Award for her role as Latrice Butler in “Seven Seconds.” King has also taken on many roles behind the camera directing episodes of “This Is Us,” “The Good Doctor” and the season three finale of “Insecure,” among other projects. She is next set to star in Damon Lindeloff’s upcoming series “Watchmen.”

“Regina King is a multi-faceted talent both behind and in front of the camera,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a statement. “She’s been a trailblazer for years, with boundless creativity and impeccable taste in projects, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that she will bring her formidable talents to Netflix.”

“I am beyond thrilled to join the Netflix family,” said King in a statement. “They are at the top of their game and as an artist I am so excited to come play in this wonderful sandbox they have created for storytellers.”

In addition to the Academy Award, King also won a Golden Globe, an Independent Spirit Award and the National Board of Review award for her supporting role as Sharon Rivers in If Beale Street Could Talk. King has also won three Emmy Awards, including one for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her work in the Netflix racial crime drama “Seven Seconds” and ond for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie category for her role in the ABC anthology series “American Crime,” which also garnered her first Golden Globe Award nomination.

King is also known for feature film roles in the Jerry Maguire, How Stella Got Her Groove Back with Angela Bassett, Enemy of the State opposite Will Smith, Mighty Joe Young with Charlize Theron, Boys N the HoodMiss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous alongside Sandra Bullock, Cinderella Story opposite Hilary Duff, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde with Reese Witherspoon, and Daddy Day Care opposite Eddie Murphy.

Mike Myers to Produce and Star in Netflix Comedy Series

Netflix has ordered a half-hour limited comedy series produced by and starring Mike Myers, in which he plays multiple characters, according to the service.

“I love creating characters, and Netflix has given me a fantastic playground to play in,” said Myers in a statement.

The series will have six episodes and, in addition to Myers, executive producers include John Lyons and Jason Weinberg. Associate producers are Mackenzie Cyr and Justin Capraro-Gentuso.

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Myers has been a cast member on “Saturday Night Live”; starred in the popular “Wayne’s World,” “Austin Powers” and “Shrek” film series; and, most recently, appeared in Bohemian Rhapsody.

Netflix Announces 10 Indian Film Originals

Netflix has announced 10 new original Indian films across a range of subjects and genres, including drama, sci-fi, thriller, horror, comedy and romance.

By the end of 2020, a total of 15 new original Indian films (including previously announced titles Music Teacher, Cobalt Blue, Chopsticks, Upstarts and Bulbul) will be available to Netflix members around the world, according to the SVOD service.

“When Netflix launched in India, we changed the way Indian audiences enjoy their films,” said Srishti Behl Arya, director, international original film, India, Netflix, in a statement. “Given our diversity, history and culture, India is home to powerful stories waiting to be told to audiences around the world. The depth of talent and vision of our creators is enabling us to create films our members will love. We want to be a home for India’s finest filmmakers where their stories travel to more people than ever before.”

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The 10 new Netflix Indian original films include the chiller Ghost Stories; the drama Class of ’83; Mrs. Serial Killer, about a doting wife who must perform a murder exactly like the serial killer to prove her husband innocent; Guilty, exploring versions of truth that emerge when a small town girl accuses the college heart throb of rape; Yeh Ballet, about two boys from very low income families who discover ballet and through it a way to escape their challenging circumstances; House Arrest, about a shut-in; Kaali Khuhi; about a 10-year-old who saves his town from its dark past; Maska, about a confused millennial who sets out to fulfill his fantasy of becoming a movie star; Freedom, the story of an Indian family interwoven with the personal, ideological and sexual history of India; and Serious Men, about a wily slum dweller, who cons the country into believing his dim-witted 10-year-old son is a genius.

Previous Netflix Indian projects included Lust Stories, an Indian anthology film; Soni, a tale of two Indian police officers; new-age romance Love Per Square Foot; and the humorous family drama Rajma Chawal.

Netflix Chief Marketing Officer to Exit

Chief marketing officer Kelly Bennett is leaving Netflix, the company announced.

He “has decided to step down from the company after seven successful years in the role” and will stay for a transitional period until a new chief marketing officer is named, according to a Netflix release.

Bennett joined Netflix in 2012 and has led the company’s marketing efforts as it grew from 26 million to more than 139 million paid members around the world, according to the release.

“He’s been instrumental in helping to make Netflix a much loved brand — and pioneered the company’s campaigning approach to the launch of its original content,” the release stated.

“Kelly Bennett has been absolutely transformational for us as we expanded our member base in the U.S. and globally, and particularly as we transitioned into being a leader in original series and films,” said Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, in a statement. “He has been a source of inspiration both inside Netflix and in presenting our brand to the world, and we are thankful for his enormous contributions.”

“The past seven years have been the most rewarding of my professional life, and we are at the top of our game, which is why this was the right moment for me to retire,” said Bennett in a statement. “I am immensely proud of the team we have built and all that has been accomplished during my time here — and I will continue to be Netflix’s greatest fan.”

Netflix Inks Deal With ‘Blue Planet II’ Creator

Netflix has signed a multiyear overall deal with James Honeyborne, creator and executive producer of the award-winning documentary series “Blue Planet II,” to produce new nature and science series.

“James has created some of the most captivating natural history series of our time, with breathtaking sweep and vision,” Lisa Nishimura, VP of documentaries and comedy at Netflix, said in a statement. “I am thrilled that he will be working with us at Netflix, bringing his unique exploration of the wonders of the natural world to our viewers.”

Honeyborne and partner Renee Godfrey will make all their productions through their company Freeborne Media Ltd.

“Freeborne is excited to be working with Netflix and for the new creative opportunities that will arise from our partnership,” Honeyborne said in a statement. “Today, wildlife and wild places are facing unprecedented challenges. There is a pressing need to tell important, surprising and inspiring stories about our world. Working with Netflix means we can create game-changing documentaries that can reach and engage a huge global audience.”

Honeyborne’s BBC work includes the BAFTA-winning “Big Blue Live” and the Emmy-nominated series “Wild New Zealand.” He was also the series producer of “Africa.” Honeyborne, who trained as a biologist, has overseen some 35 films during his time as an executive producer at the BBC’s Natural History Unit.

Godfrey trained as an anthropologist before working on the acclaimed series “Tribe” and “Human Planet.” Her recent credits include “Enchanted Kingdom 3D,” “Wild Atlantic” and “Wild New Zealand.”

Freeborne will be based in Bristol, England.

Netflix Originals Demand Share to Overtake Licensed Content by Fall 2019

Demand for Netflix Originals is estimated to overtake the share of demand for licensed titles by October 2019, according to new research by Parrot Analytics and Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Netflix has a goal of having 50% of its content be comprised of Netflix originals, notes the report, which leverages Parrot Analytics’ Demand Expressions metric, which uses social media, video streaming, photo sharing, blogging, micro-blogging, fan and critic rating platforms, peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites to measure consumer demand.

The report compared the sum of U.S. demand for both Netflix original series, and the licensed titles available on the U.S. Netflix service each month. While currently the most in-demand content tends to be licensed titles, the proportion of the demand share from Netflix original titles has generally grown month over month, according to the report. Overall, for the 12 months analyzed, the demand share for Netflix originals grew an average of 1 % each month. From July 2017 to June 2018, the streaming service’s reliance on licensed content dropped by 10.9%. Based on these 12 months of data, the report forecasts that Netflix will generate 50% of U.S. audience content demand with its own original content from October 2019 onward.

The report from Parrot Analytics and Kagan also looked at demand for television content across streaming subscription video-on-demand platforms in the United States. Overall, the report found demand for content on all major SVOD platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime, and Starz, has increased over the past year.

For the premium channel VOD platforms (HBO Now, Showtime, and Starz), new content from their linear channels tends to be the most in-demand, the study found. However, Parrot Analytics affinity analysis reveals that the respective back catalog of each VOD platform continues to play an important role, indicating that older titles likely remain an important driver of subscriber loyalty.

“The future for the industry is likely to be even more crowded and the winners are still unknown,” said Deana Myers, research director, S&P Global Market Intelligence. “Walt Disney is expected to debut its SVOD service in 2019 and its proposed buy of the studio and libraries of 21st Century Fox will add a vast amount of content to this service. Other anticipated SVOD launches include those by Apple and WarnerMedia. We estimate the overall US SVOD industry has many strong years of growth in its future, particularly as competition from Disney and Apple could impact the market.”

Other new entrants to the online video space, such as Facebook Watch, YouTube and DC Universe, are also investing heavily in originals and acquired content, the research firms noted. At the same time, content spending for Netflix, Amazon and Hulu is expected to continue to grow at double digit rates.

The research in this report is based on a catalog demand analysis of digital-only Netflix and Hulu services, and a premium channel VOD demand analysis based on TV demand data pertaining to HBO Now, Showtime and Starz.

Netflix to Bow ‘Our Planet’ Documentary Series Narrated by Sir David Attenborough April 5

World-renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough will serve as the voice of the upcoming Netflix original documentary series “Our Planet,” which will premiere on the service April 5.

The series has been created in collaboration with Silverback Films, whose director Alastair Fothergill was the creator of the original “Planet Earth” and “Blue Planet” series and WWF, the world’s leading conservation organization.

The eight-part series showcases the planet’s species and fragile habitats using 4K camera technology. The four-year project was filmed in 50 countries across all the continents of the world with more than 600 crew members. It focuses on the breadth of the diversity of habitats around the world, from the remote Arctic wilderness and deep oceans to the landscapes of Africa and jungles of South America.

“’Our Planet’ will take viewers on a spectacular journey of discovery showcasing the beauty and fragility of our natural world,” Attenborough said at the WWF’s State of the Planet Address in London. “Today we have become the greatest threat to the health of our home but there’s still time for us to address the challenges we’ve created, if we act now. We need the world to pay attention. ‘Our Planet’ brings together some of the world’s best filmmakers and conservationists and I’m delighted to help bring this important story to millions of people worldwide.”

In partnership with WWF, the series will be part of a wider global project. From online resources to educational programs for schools, the project will go beyond showcasing the wonders of our planet to reveal what we must do now to ensure people and nature can thrive, according to the Netflix release.

“‘Our Planet’ is our most ambitious endeavor to date,” said Fothergill, director at Silverback, in a statement. “We hope it will inspire and delight hundreds of millions of people across the world, so they can understand our planet, and the environmental threat it faces, as never before. The crew have ventured to all corners of the globe to capture breathtaking natural history sequences and using the latest filming technology to bring these never-filmed-before moments into people’s homes. By launching on Netflix at the same time all over the world, this series will enable people to connect to and understand the shared responsibility we all have. We are genuinely all in this together.”

“’Our Planet’ is a phenomenal achievement by Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey and all at Silverback Productions, and a spectacular voyage of discovery around the world,” said Lisa Nishimura, VP of Netflix Original Documentaries, in a statement. “We are delighted that Sir David Attenborough will voice the series and that Netflix, as a global platform, is able to bring this vital and magical series to an audience of over 190 countries worldwide next year.”

“We’re the first generation to know the full impact of what we’re doing to our planet, and the last that has the chance to do anything about it,” said Colin Butfield, executive director of WWF-UK and executive producer of “Our Planet” in a statement. “We’re at a unique moment in our history where we have the chance to put things right and start on the path towards a better future. ‘Our Planet’ will showcase the wonders of our world at the critical time when we need global action to protect it.”

A companion book to the series, Our Planet by Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey with Fred Pearce, will be published in April by Transworld.

Report: Netflix Planning Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Feature for TV Episodes, Movies

Netflix is developing a slate of specials that will let viewers choose the direction of the story in a TV episode or movie, according to a report from Bloomberg citing “people familiar with the matter.”

The company plans to release the first choose-your-own-adventure-type program before the end of the year, according to Bloomberg.

Viewers will get to pick storylines in one episode of the upcoming season of the anthology series “Black Mirror,” Bloomberg reported.

Netflix has released some choose-your-own-adventure episodes of animated programs for kids, according to Bloomberg.

Netflix Announces New Unscripted Originals for Late 2018

Netflix at the Edinburgh TV Festival unveiled four new unscripted original series and one original special slated to debut later this year.

Brandon Riegg, VP of unscripted originals and acquisitions for Netflix, made the announcement.

New series “The Final Table,” which will launch later this year, is global culinary competition show featuring the world’s most renowned chefs fighting for a spot at the elite Final Table made up of the greatest chefs from around the world. The series features 12 teams of two chefs from around the world cooking the national dishes of Mexico, Spain, England, Brazil, France, Japan, the United States, India and Italy. Each episode focuses on a different country and its cuisine, with celebrity ambassadors, food critics and that country’s greatest chef eliminating teams until the finale. In that last episode, only one of the competing chefs will win a place at the Final Table amongst the world’s best, joining the nine celebrity legendary culinary icons. These are Enrique Olvera (Mexico), Andoni Aduriz (Spain), Clare Smyth (UK), Helena Rizzo (Brazil), Vineet Bhatia (India), Grant Achatz (US), Carlo Cracco (Italy), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan) and Anne-Sophie Pic (France). The series will be presented by Andrew Knowlton, James Beard Award-winning writer and editor at large, Bon Appétit.

New series “Death by Magic,” which will launch later this year, follows British magician Drummond Money-Coutts, who is on a mission to uncover the stories of magicians who died performing the most dangerous stunts ever attempted. He travels the world to track down where the fatal performances took place and to work out exactly what went wrong, sharing his magic with the people he meets along the way. His aim is to pay homage to the craft by creating his own updated versions of the stunts that cost these magicians their lives, from being buried alive under tons of wet concrete, to playing a game of Russian roulette, to escaping from a collision with a speeding steam train, according to the Netflix release.

New series “Sunderland Till I Die,” coming Dec. 14, which chronicles the unfailing passion of the United Kingdom’s Northern town Sunderland. As its main industries of shipbuilding and mining have fallen by the wayside, SAFC (Sunderland Association Football Club) has become ever more important as the lifeblood of this unique city in England. The series will take its audience through the highs and lows of SAFC’s first season in the Championship following its painful previous year.

New series “Flinch,” due later this year, is an action comedy game show with one simple rule: Do not flinch. The show is set on a remote farm in the hills of Ireland where contestants gather to test their nerve. If they flinch, there are painful consequences both for them, and for our hosts, who have each chosen a player to represent them in the games. The series is hosted by comedians Desiree Burch, Lloyd Griffith and Seann Walsh.

In the new special “Derren Brown: Sacrifice,” coming later this year, psychological illusionist Derren Brown returns, attempting to radically transform, through the use of covert psychological techniques, one man’s prejudices. Spanning two continents and drawing on the expertise of actors, stunt coordinators and ballistic experts, Brown creates a scenario in which his subject has to decide whether or not to make the ultimate sacrifice: laying down his life for a complete stranger he wouldn’t normally identify with.

The audience were also shown an in-room clip of the new docu-series of the 2018 Formula One World Championship which was announced earlier this year and will air in 2019. The 10-part original series will have unparalleled access to the world’s fastest drivers, team principals and owners, as well as Formula 1’s own management team, according to the Netflix release.

Netflix Announces New Series Starring Renee Zellweger

Netflix has announced the new social thriller series “What/If” starring Renee Zellweger.

The series will explore the ripple effects of what happens when acceptable people start doing unacceptable things. Each season will tackle a different morality tale inspired by culturally consequential source material, and the power of a single fateful decision to change the trajectory of an entire life.

Academy Award winner Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain, Jerry Maguire, Chicago, the “Bridget Jones” movies) stars in the role of Anne. The series creator is Mike Kelley (Revenge, Swingtown).