Netflix to Open Office in Colombia

Netflix will open an office in Bogotá, Colombia, the company announced.

“Ten years ago Colombia opened its doors to Netflix, a new way to enjoy the best series and movies directly in their homes,” read a Netflix announcement. “A few years later we embarked on our first local production and quickly witnessed the incredible talent of the country and the opportunity to create Colombian stories, by Colombians. This led to series such as ‘Siempre Bruja,’ ‘Distrito Salvaje,’ ‘Chichipatos,’ ‘Frontera Verde’ and ‘El Robo del Siglo’; comedy specials such as those of Liss Pereira, Ricardo Quevedo, Antonio Sanint, Julian Arango and Alejandro Riaño; and movies such as Lavaperros, but our story in Colombia is only starting.”

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The new office “will allow us to be even closer to the creative community and our members, taking Colombian stories to millions of homes around the world so that they can discover the incredible potential, talent, landscapes and culture of this country,” according to the Netflix announcement.

Additionally, through 2022, Netflix will bow more than 30 new projects, which include the already announced “Ritmo Salvaje,” “Locombianos,” “Juanpis,” “Nada Es Igual,” a comedy show starring Alejandra Azcárate, “Goles en Contra,” ‘Pálpito,” “Perfil Falso,” “Diomedes” and “Chichipatos” season two.

The titles are part of Netflix’s local content investment of more than $175 million since 2014, according to the announce.

Apple Greenlights Louis Armstrong Doc

Apple Original Films has greenlighted the Louis Armstrong documentary feature Black & Blues: The Colorful Ballad of Louis Armstrong from Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries to join its feature film slate.

The film offers a definitive look at the master musician’s life and legacy as a founding father of jazz, the first pop star and a cultural ambassador of the United States. He was loved by millions worldwide but often mischaracterized for not doing enough to support the civil rights movement. In reality, his fight for social justice was fueled by his celebrity and his willingness to break his silence on issues of segregation and patriotism. With the support of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, the filmmakers have access to never-before-seen archival materials, including hundreds of hours of audio recordings, film footage, photographs, personal diaries and a life’s worth of ephemera for exclusive use in the first significant documentary dedicated entirely to Armstrong’s life.

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The documentary, which is produced under Apple’s first-look agreement with Imagine Documentaries, will be directed by Sacha Jenkins (Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men), and will be produced by Jenkins, Julie Anderson, Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard serve as executive producers. The project is being produced in association with Universal Music Group’s Polygram Entertainment, with Michele Anthony and David Blackman serving as executive producers.

‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ Repeats at No. 1 on Vudu and FandangoNow Charts

Disney’s animated Raya and the Last Dragon again took the top spot on the Vudu and FandangoNow charts the week ended April 11.

Both are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

The fantasy adventure Raya became available for digital purchase April 2 following its debut in theaters and via Premier Access with an added charge for subscribers to the Disney+ streaming service. In the film, long ago, in the world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. When sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good.

Warner Bros.’ DC comic-based Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot, repeated at No. 2 on the Vudu chart and fell one spot to No. 3 on the FandangoNow chart. It became available for digital purchase March 16 following its PVOD rental run.

Coming in at No. 2 on the FandangoNow chart (No. 4 on Vudu) was Lionsgate’s Chaos Walking, available for premium VOD rental April 2. Based on the best-selling novel The Knife of Never Letting Go and set in the not-too-distant future, the film follows Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) who discovers a mysterious girl named Viola (Daisy Ridley). She has crash-landed on his planet, where the women have disappeared and the men are afflicted by “The Noise,” a force that puts all their thoughts on display. In this dangerous landscape, Viola’s life is threatened and, to protect her, Todd must discover his inner power and unlock the planet’s dark secrets.

Taking the bronze on the Vudu chart (No. 4 on FandangoNow) was City of Lies, which became available for digital rental and purchase April 9. Starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker, it follows a disgraced L.A.P.D. detective who — unable to solve his biggest case, the murders of rap icons Tupac Shkur and The Notorious B.I.G. Poole — enters into an uneasy partnership to put the case to rest.

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Taking the fifth spot on both charts was Warner’s The Little Things, available via premium VOD rental starting March 19. The psychological thriller stars Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto and follows a Kern County deputy sheriff who is sent to Los Angeles for a quick evidence-gathering assignment, but instead becomes embroiled in the search for a killer who is terrorizing the city.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended April 11, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Raya and the Last Dragon
  2. Wonder Woman 1984
  3. City of Lies
  4. Chaos Walking
  5. The Little Things
  6. Willy’s Wonderland
  7. The Croods: A New Age
  8. Every Breath You Take
  9. Monster Hunter
  10. News of the World

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended April 11, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Raya and the Last Dragon
  2. Chaos Walking
  3. Wonder Woman 1984
  4. City of Lies
  5. The Little Things
  6. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
  7. News of the World
  8. The Croods: A New Age
  9. Every Breath You Take
  10. Judas and the Black Messiah

 

In other FandangoNow news, the service is offering a sale on the “Hotel Transylvania” trilogy in 4K Ultra HD for $24.99 (usually $29.97) as part of its “Triple Feature Bundle Sale.” Fandango debuted “Monster Pets: A Hotel Transylvania Short,” a Sony short released to celebrate Pets Day April 11 and in anticipation of a new feature in the series, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania, which debuts July 23.

‘Face to Face,’ ‘Box 21’ Among Walter Presents Programs on PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in April

Five new international programs from Walter Presents are streaming on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel beginning in April: “Face to Face,” “Box 21,” “Devil’s Throat,” “Seizure” and “Silent Hunt.”

The subscription rate for the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Available now is the eight-episode Danish series “Face to Face.” In the series, when investigator Bjørn is called in to identify a young woman, he is horrified to find his own daughter lying on the autopsy table. Her death is ruled a suicide, but Bjørn refuses to believe his daughter has taken her own life. As the evidence begins to point towards murder, Bjørn begins to track the last day of his daughter’s life. This sends him on a whirlwind journey where he encounters people important to his daughter, revealing a network of truths, lies and criminal acts woven into her and Bjørn’s own life. In order to understand his daughter’s death, Bjørn must confront himself — until he finally faces the unavoidable truth of why she died.

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Also available now is the six-episode Romanian crime thriller “Box 21.” The series follows Lidia, a young Romanian woman who is lured to Sweden with promises of a better life. Through a wicked turn of events, Lidia is forced into prostitution. Looking for revenge, her fate is interwoven with police officer Ewert Grens, who chases a dangerous criminal.

Due April 16 is the 12-episode Bulgarian crime thriller “Devil’s Throat.” The series follows a DANS employee and an ambitious local investigator at the height of the Bulgarian refugee crisis. They are looking into the murder of a retired police officer in the border town of Smolyan. The clues are gradually turning toward a terrible secret about a crime that will overturn their investigation and their personal fates.

The Norwegian series “Seizure,” which starts streaming April 23, follows two Oslo detectives, played by popular Norwegian actors Anders Danielsen Lie (“Oslo, August 31st,” “22 July”) and Anders Baasmo Christiansen (“Kon-Tiki”), as they investigate the deaths of four immigrant boys. Set against an intense backdrop of personal trauma, violent weather and otherworldly apparitions, the show mixes elements of traditional Scandi Noir with a more supernatural twist.

Due April 30 is the German eight-episode series “Silent Hunt.” It follows an aristocrat by birth and gentleman by nature, Detective Hanns von Meuffeels, who brings a unique but effective approach to police work. He draws a suspect in with the power of good investigative skills and a well-practiced silence. Von Meuffels applies his own particular investigative style to reveal the truth, often confronting his own past and mistakes in the process, on cases involving satellite control systems for the arms industry, Turkish extremists, international money laundering, among others.

HBO Max Orders ‘Real Magic Mike’ Competition Series

HBO Max has ordered “The Real Magic Mike” (working title), an unscripted competition series set to debut on the streamer later this year.

From the producers behind the “Magic Mike” franchise and live shows, the series will transform 10 men into real-life Magic Mikes in a competition. They will bare their souls and more as they evolve their bodies, learn to perform routines, and develop a new level of self-confidence. “As they strip off their clothes, they will rid themselves of emotional baggage and regain their mojo but only one will be the Real Magic Mike,” according to an HBO Max press release.

The winner will get a cash prize and an opportunity to perform on the Magic Mike Live stage in Las Vegas.

A nationwide casting search is currently underway.

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From Eureka Productions and Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Warner Horizon, the series’ executive producers include Channing Tatum (star of the 2012 movie Magic Mike), Steven Soderbergh, Reid Carolin, Peter Kiernan, Gregory Jacobs, Nick Wechsler, Vincent Marini, Alycia Rossiter, Cassie Lambert Scalettar, Chris Culvenor, Paul Franklin, Wes Dening and David Tibballs alongside co-executive producer Kevin Boyer.

“From box office hits to sold-out live shows, Magic Mike has proven to be a pop culture juggernaut that continues to delight people across the globe,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max, said in a statement. “We’re excited to work with Channing, Steven and the team behind Magic Mike Live to continue this successful franchise that celebrates self-confidence and sexiness both inside and out.”

“‘Magic Mike’ is one of Warner Bros.’ most iconic franchises,” Mike Darnell, president of Warner Bros. Unscripted Television, said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited to be working with Channing, Steven and HBO Max on an all-new vision of this amazing and legendary brand. We’re looking forward to giving fans a front row seat as we search the country for undiscovered talent.”

Apple TV+ Orders ‘The Crowded Room’

Apple TV+ has ordered the series “The Crowded Room,” with Tom Holland starring in the lead role of the first season.

The anthology series will be produced by Apple Studios and New Regency, with Academy Award winner Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) set to write and executive produce.

Holland also will serve as executive producer alongside Goldsman.

“The Crowded Room” will explore the true and inspirational stories of those who have struggled and learned to successfully live with mental illness.

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The anthology’s 10-episode first season is inspired by the award-winning biography The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes. It tells the story of Billy Milligan (Holland), the first person ever acquitted of a crime because of multiple personality disorder (now known as dissociative identity disorder).

TV Time: Warner’s ‘Mortal Kombat’ Most Anticipated Movie in April

Warner Bros.’ Mortal Kombat was the most anticipated movie in April on the TV Time chart.

Based on the video game franchise of the same name, the film follows Shaolin Monk Liu Kang, from Earth, who gets invited as a competitor in a mysterious, intergalactic tournament of ancient martial arts. It premieres April 23 in theaters and on WarnerMedia’s HBO Max streaming service.

A Whip Media company, TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by nearly 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, premiering on Amazon Prime April 30, took the second spot on the chart. The action thriller is based on the 1993 novel of the same name by Tom Clancy and is a spin-off of the Jack Ryan film series.

Coming in at No. 3 was Netflix’s Thunder Force, premiering April 9 on the streaming service. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spenser and Jason Bateman, the film follows two childhood best friends who reunite as an unlikely crime-fighting superhero duo when one invents a formula that gives ordinary people superpowers.

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Also from Netflix, Stowaway, premiering April 22, took the fourth spot on the chart. In the film starring Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson and Toni Collette, a three-person crew on a mission to Mars faces an impossible choice when an unplanned passenger jeopardizes the lives of everyone on board.

Another space story, Lionsgate’s Voyagers, landed at No. 5. Starring Colin Farrell, Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp and Fionn Whitehead, the film follows a crew of astronauts on a multi-generational mission who descend into paranoia and madness, not knowing what is real or not. It hits theaters April 9.

Rounding out the chart at No. 6 was Concrete Cowboy, which began streaming on Netflix April 2. Starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin (“Stranger Things”), it follows a rebellious teen, sent to live with his estranged father for the summer, who finds kinship in a tight-knit Philadelphia community of Black cowboys.

 Most Anticipated April Movies

  1. Mortal Kombat – April 23 (Warner Bros., theaters and HBO Max)
  2. Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse – April 30 (Amazon Prime)
  3. Thunder Force – April 9 (Netflix)
  4. Stowaway – April 22 (Netflix)
  5. Voyagers – April 9 (Lionsgate, theaters)
  6. Concrete Cowboy – April 2 (Netflix)

 

TV Time features a global community of 16 million users who have reported more than 18 billion views of TV and movie content across 230,000 titles.

‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ Tops Vudu and FandangoNow Charts

Disney’s computer-animated Raya and the Last Dragon took the top spot on the Vudu and FandangoNow charts the week ended April 4.

Both are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

The fantasy adventure Raya became available for digital purchase April 2 following its debut in theaters and via Premier Access with an added charge for subscribers to the Disney+ streaming service. In the film, long ago, in the world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. When sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good.

Warner Bros.’ DC comic-based Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot, took the silver on both charts. It became available for digital purchase March 16 following its PVOD rental run.

Taking the bronze on the Vudu chart was Screen Media’s Willy’s Wonderland, available for early digital purchase. The film stars Nicolas Cage as a loner who agrees to clean an abandoned family fun center in exchange for repairs to his car and finds himself waging war against possessed animatronic mascots.

Coming in at No. 3 on the FandangoNow chart was Warner’s The Little Things, available via premium VOD rental starting March 19. The psychological thriller stars Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto and follows a Kern County deputy sheriff who is sent to Los Angeles for a quick evidence-gathering assignment, but instead becomes embroiled in the search for a killer who is terrorizing the city. It came in at No. 5 on the Vudu chart.

Lionsgate’s Chaos Walking, available for premium VOD rental April 2, took the fourth spot on both charts. Based on the best-selling novel The Knife of Never Letting Go and set in the not-too-distant future, the film follows Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) who discovers a mysterious girl named Viola (Daisy Ridley). She has crash-landed on his planet, where the women have disappeared and the men are afflicted by “The Noise,” a force that puts all their thoughts on display. In this dangerous landscape, Viola’s life is threatened and, to protect her, Todd must discover his inner power and unlock the planet’s dark secrets.

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Paramount’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run — available as a premium VOD rental March 4 (and also to Paramount+ streaming subscribers) — took the No. 5 spot on the FandangoNow chart. In the CGI-animated adventure with live action elements, SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary goes missing in a plot hatched by Plankton to get the Krabby Patty recipe, and he and his friend Patrick head to the Lost City of Atlantic City to retrieve him. It features appearances by Keanu Reeves and Snoop Dogg, among others.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended April 4, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Raya and the Last Dragon
  2. Wonder Woman 1984
  3. Willy’s Wonderland
  4. Chaos Walking
  5. The Little Things
  6. News of the World
  7. The Croods: A New Age
  8. Freaky
  9. Monster Hunter
  10. Soul

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended April 4, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Raya and the Last Dragon
  2. Wonder Woman 1984
  3. The Little Things
  4. Chaos Walking
  5. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
  6. News of the World
  7. Boogie
  8. The Father
  9. Every Breath You Take
  10. The Vault

 

Cinedigm Acquires Series ‘The Island’ for Screambox SVOD Service

Cinedigm has acquired all North American rights to the coming-of-age, pandemic thriller series “The Island” from ZDF Enterprises.

The series is slated to premiere on Cinedigm’s recent digital network acquisition Screambox, a SVOD service for horror movies and TV series.

The eight-part series centers on a remote island in the North Sea that falls victim to a merciless and mysterious virus. As authorities rush to contain the disease, a fever of madness sweeps across the island.

The limited series was released in Germany last Summer. Cinedigm plans to premiere the series this July exclusively on Screambox, with two episodes releasing each week. The episodes will be offered in its original language with English subtitles and English dubbed.

“We are thrilled to bring ‘The Island’ to audiences this summer,” Yolanda Macias, chief content officer at Cinedigm, said in a statement. “The acquisition of Screambox gives us the opportunity to pursue titles within this incredibly popular and diverse genre to an underserved audience. Horror has a history of originality and we are eager to seek out titles like ‘The Island’ and provide a subtitled and dubbed experience to horror and thrill-seeking super fans.”

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“In ‘The Island,’ a coming-of-age-drama and post-apocalyptic disaster thriller merge into a modern epic. In a radical, uncompromising manner, the series raises the question of what happens to us modern people when the thin varnish of our civilization collapses. It has all the hallmarks of a top-quality thriller,” Robert Franke, VP, ZDFE.drama at ZDF Enterprises, said in a statement.

The series is directed by Christian Alvart, who also wrote and directed the Netflix series “Dogs of Berlin,” and Adolfo J. Kolmerer.

Content Marketplace Company Vuulr Adds Two Execs

Vuulr, a global online content marketplace for film and television rights, has added two senior film industry executives. Daniel Gagliardi will serve as SVP of business development and strategy for the Americas. Andrew Marshall joins the team as head of legal and commercial partnerships.

“Great tech on its own is not enough, its needs to be wrapped with great support from industry experts who fully understand the challenges our buyers and sellers face in their business today,” Ian McKee, Vuulr’s global CEO, said in a statement. “I’m really excited to have Daniel and Andrew onboard as we scale the business.”

Gagliardi will lead efforts to help further develop the company’s growing position as a global online content marketplace for film and television rights, using his extensive and recent experience as both a content buyer and seller.

“As the content seller who helped drive the global rollout of services like Tubi, Pluto TV, Roku, and others, I know first hand the need for quick, efficient and strategic content licensing,” Gagliardi said in a statement. “What excites me most about Vuulr is our ability to transform the business of content licensing, not only with such a large selection of content, but by also offering hyper-local/regional content to help channels and platforms of all types expand around the globe.”

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Prior to joining the Vuulr team, Gagliardi was head of content at Vudu, a Walmart company, where he was responsible for building and leading the content partnerships team. During his tenure, Vudu debuted its first original television series, its first original film, commissioned a dozen additional originals, and partnered with hundreds of content licensors, including Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, Lionsgate, MGM and Samuel Goldwyn, among others. He also worked at Lionsgate where he was VP of worldwide television and digital distribution. In this role he built and led the company’s ad-supported licensing team, forging and overseeing deals with Hulu, YouTube, Tubi, Pluto TV, Roku, Amazon and Crackle, among others.

Marshall has held positions at ESPN STAR Sports, NBCUniversal and The Walt Disney Company.

“I am excited to join Vuulr as they pioneer the transformation of distribution and acquisition,” Marshall said in a statement. “Bringing the efficiencies of doing business online is a critical success factor for the industry as it transforms and the new normals emerge. Vuulr is on the leading edge of enabling this change which brings benefits to Buyers, Sellers and Audiences.”

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Marshall brings a deep understanding of the evolving legal, regulatory commercial landscape for media and entertainment companies, gained from working at leading industry players, according to a Vuulr press release. Marshall was previously general counsel and SVP of legal and business affairs at ESPN STAR Sports and a regional counsel for all lines of business in Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia at The Walt Disney Company, with a focus on content licensing, including theatrical distribution, studio marketing and home entertainment. More recently, he was commercial director for Universal brand development, where he grew the character licensing business for NBCUniversal in Southeast Asia.

Vuulr launched in January 2019 as a global online content marketplace for film and TV rights that connects buyers with content sellers worldwide, providing both with a platform to negotiate and transact directly and securely. The company connects buyers and distributors regardless of time zone or geography, providing an opportunity to access an always-on, diverse selection of mainstream and niche content.

The Vuulr online sales platform currently features content from producers and distributors across the globe, comprising more than 23,000 titles/135,000 hours, across more than 60 genres and 70 languages. Vuulr aims to slash the cost, effort, and time involved in doing transactions for the industry, and licensing transactions on Vuulr close, on average, in 10 days, according to the company.