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.”

Apple Makes Golden Globe History with ‘The Morning Show’ Nominations

Upstart Apple TV+ made history of sorts becoming the first SVOD service to receive Golden Globe nominations (“The Morning Show”) in its first year of service.

The service received a Best Television Series — Drama nomination in addition to dual nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama for stars and executive producers Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. The series also stars Steve Carell.

The awards will be presented at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 5, 2020.

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Apple TV+ ($4.99) launched Nov. 1, representing the tech giant’s foray into OTT distribution.

“The Morning Show” explores the cutthroat world of morning news and the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning. Told through the lens of two complicated women working to navigate the minefield of high-octane jobs, while facing crises in both their personal and professional lives.

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The nominations are also the first drama TV actress nominations for both Aniston and Witherspoon. Aniston is now only the fourth person in history to receive Golden Globe nominations for both TV Comedy and Drama, Lead Actress.

“Thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for today’s historic nominations,” Zack Van Amburg, Apple’s head of worldwide video, said in a statement. “[T]oday’s nominations are a true testament to the powerful storytelling that went into ‘The Morning Show,’ as well as all of our Apple Originals.”

Despite reported struggles gaining consumer traction (in comparison with Disney+), Apple said “The Morning Show” is resonating with audiences globally.

“We cannot wait to continue exploring the world of ‘The Morning Show’ into season two,” said Jamie Erlicht, Apple’s head of worldwide video.

“The Morning Show” streams exclusively on Apple TV+ on the Apple TV app, with new episodes premiering worldwide every Friday. The season finale premieres on Dec. 20.

‘The Mandalorian’ Gives Disney+ Early Streaming Edge Over Apple TV+ Programming

The streaming wars have begun and early returns suggest Disney’s $6.99 branded subscription streaming service, Disney+, scored the first programming hits in comparison to Apple TV+ ($4.99).

“The Mandalorian,” the Disney+ exclusive “Star Wars”-themed original series, generated nearly 20 million “demand expressions” on its first day of release (Nov. 12), according to Parrot Analytics. That was nearly five times the first-day “demand” for the high-profile Apple TV+ series “The Morning News,” with 4.3 million “expressions” on Oct. 30.

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“Morning News” features Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell’s return to episodic TV. The series also stars Reese Witherspoon.

Parrot, which compiles its weekly proprietary “expressions” yardstick across social media posts, chatter and related metrics, disclosed the data to Business Insider.

The data does not necessarily reflect actual viewership numbers, including time spent streaming programming. Disney and Apple have not disclosed that information.

“Mandalorian” from producer Jon Favreau, bested Apple’s entire original programming slate, which includes “For All Mankind” (11.6 million expressions); “Dickinson” (8.4 million), and “See” (6.2 million).

It remains to be seen if “Mandalorian” bested Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” which has topped Parrot’s digital originals chart for 20 consecutive weeks.

‘Big Little Lies’ Second Season on Disc Jan. 7

The second season of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” will be released on DVD Jan. 7 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. A Blu-ray version will be released by Warner Archive.

The returning cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoё Kravitz. In season two, the “Monterey Five” bond together to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives after the events of season one, while Perry’s grieving mother (Meryl Streep) comes to town in search of answers about her son’s death.

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The home video release will include all seven episodes, plus the featurette “The Lies Revealed: A Conversation With the Cast.”

Warner is also releasing a DVD two-pack containing both seasons of the series. The show is also available to own through digital retailers.

 

Stars Bite on Apple Streaming Service

Stars and filmmakers from Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams to Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Oprah turned out March 25 to help Apple launch it’s new streaming service Apple TV+.

Apple Expected to Bow Video Streaming Platform March 25

Apple is expected to announce its much-anticipated Apple TV video streaming platform at a special “Apple Event” March 25 at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Calif.

The tech giant March 11 sent out “It’s Show Time” media invites without elaborating further details about the contents of the presentation. Media reports suggest that while Apple may announce the streaming service, it may not be functional until later this year.

Apple, which is reportedly spending $2 billion on original content for the rebooted Apple TV app, has been slow to jump on the over-the-top video bandwagon ever since co-founder Steve Jobs infamously characterized online video a hobby.

Now with entertainment management hired, and content deals involving Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Bill Murray, Sofia Coppola, Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) among others, in production, Apple TV reportedly will also offer third-party OTT video subscriptions – notably HBO, CBS All Access, Showtime and Starz — similarly to Amazon Channels.

Separately, Apple and Roku reportedly are finalizing details on an agreement that will enable Roku users to stream content, including video and photos, to and from an iPhone, iPad or Mac to a connected TV through the AirPlay 2 integration on the Roku device.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shout! Factory Releasing ‘Legally Blonde’ Blu-ray Collection Feb. 26

Indie distributor Shout! Factory’s Shout Select imprint will release The Legally Blonde Collection on Blu-ray Feb. 26, featuring Reese Witherspoon in 2001’s Legally Blonde and its 2003 sequel, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde.

In the first film, sorority girl Elle Woods (Witherspoon) enrolls at Harvard Law School with her little dog Bruiser in tow in an attempt to win back her boyfriend after he dumps her. In the sequel, she takes on Washington, D.C., in support of a bill against animal testing.

The Blu-ray includes a new 4K scan on the first film from its original negative, plus a new interview with actress Jessica Caulfiel, who played Margot, one of Elle’s best friends.

The collection also includes audio commentaries, making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, a gag reel, music videos and the films’ trailers.

Report: Apple Launching Online TV Service Worldwide

Apple reportedly is set to launch an online TV service in more than 100 countries the first half of 2019. The service would include original programming, in addition to third-party apps similar to Amazon Channels in the United States, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, according to TheInformation.com, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

The service would appear to target SVOD giants Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, which currently operate in 190 and 200 countries, respectively.

Steve Carell

While an innovator in consumer electronics, computers and digital entertainment distribution, Apple has moved slowly in over-the-top video. The Apple TV streaming device lags behind market leader Roku in market penetration, according to Parks Associates.

Despite a war chest exceeding $200 billion in cash, Apple has allocated just $1 billion on original content spending in 2018 – an amount less than what Hulu is spending, in addition to market behemoths Netflix ($12 billion) and Amazon ($5 billion).

Apple Oct. 23 announced that Steve Carell (“The Office,” The 40-Year-Old Virgin) is joining Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston’s unnamed morning TV series. The show marks Carell’s first episodic content work in five years.

“It makes sense for Apple to position its subscription service as a way to make television viewing easier for customers, rather than try to go head-to-head with Amazon and Netflix on original programming,” Tim Nollen, analyst at Macquarie, told the website. “Having the ability to make life easier for consumers in this fragmented, over-the-top marketplace makes sense.”

 

 

 

 

 

Morgan Stanley Says Apple SVOD Service Can Rival Netflix — in Seven Years

Netflix shares took a slight hit after Morgan Stanley Sept. 5 issued a bullish note on Apple’s slowly evolving subscription streaming video service.

In the report — Apple, Inc.: The Emerging Power of Apple Services, Part 3: Video a New Growth Driver in 2019– Morgan Stanley analysts believe Apple’s longstanding success with iTunes and the music industry, Hollywood and its ability to capture consumer demand through the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch portends great promise in over-the-top video distribution.

“We forecast that an Apple Video streaming service with high-quality but limited breadth could be priced at the low end vs. competitors, or $7.99/month, and reach over 50 million paid subscribers by 2025, compared to 124 million at Netflix subs and Apple’s 650 million-unit iPhone installed base,” wrote the analysts.

Indeed, the note suggests Apple’s SVOD service could grow from a $500 million business in 2019 to $4.4 billion operation by 2025.

Lofty projections considering the late Steve Jobs often considered Apple TV and streaming a video a hobby and not a platform Apple could invest heavily in.

That’s changed as CEO Tim Cook and Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet software and services, have upped Apple’s video profile by hiring a string of entertainment executives, producers and directors to jumpstart original programming.

The biggest announcement occurred last November about an untitled morning show drama starring and executive produced by Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.

Other projects include a sketch comedy with Kristen Wiig; renewed seasons of “Carpool Karaoke,” a basketball drama with Golden State Warriors Kevin Durant serving as both the subject and producer; and unnamed series from directors M. Night Shyamalan, J.J. Abrams and Oprah Winfrey, among others.

Morgan Stanley believes the Apple SVOD service could get a boost when bundled with the Apple Music and Texture news and magazine subscription services. A strategy Hulu has employed partnering with Spotify.

The note said such a bundling would diversify content options for consumers, diminish the need for immediate original content hits, increase perceived consumer value and simplify billing, among other features.

“If we incorporate the assumptions from our Apple Media bundle scenario while keeping all other Apple Services forecasts unchanged, then we’d expect Apple Services revenue to grow at a 21% through 2025, ultimately reaching $143 billion by 2025, up from current forecasts of a 19% revenue growth and $124 billion in revenue by 2025.”

Apple Services generated $95 billion in revenue in the most recent fiscal period.

“We believe that Apple Video will become a reality sooner than investors think, and use this report as a way to frame the two most likely methods for video content distribution and potential impact video could have on Apple’s Services business,” wrote the analysts.

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.