The Max original comedy series “Bookie,” from Emmy-nominated creators Chuck Lorre and Nick Bakay, has been renewed for a second season.
The season one finale debuted on Dec. 21, and the full first season is available to stream on Max.
The darkly funny comedy follows veteran Los Angeles bookie Danny (Sebastian Maniscalco) as the potential legalization of sports gambling in California threatens to upend his business for good. Alongside best friend and former NFL player Ray (Omar J. Dorsey), side-hustling sister Lorraine (Vanessa Ferlito), and reluctantly reformed drug dealer Hector (Jorge Garcia), Danny must contend with his increasingly unstable clients as he tries to settle their debts — all while making plenty of risky bets of his own.
“The collaboration between Chuck and Sebastian has proven to be a winning hand, and we’re looking forward to continuing the story with this incredibly talented cast and crew,” Amy Gravitt, EVP of HBO programming and head of HBO and Max comedy series, said in a statement.
“We couldn’t be more excited that Max listened to their gut, paid the juice, and let it ride on season two of ‘Bookie,'” executive producers Chuck Lorre and Nick Bakay said in a statement.
“There’s no doubt that Chuck and Nick’s ‘Bookie’ won big this season as they took us on a hilarious ride into the underbelly of illegal sports gambling, featuring a cast led by another dynamic duo: Sebastian Maniscalco and Omar J. Dorsey,” Channing Dungey, chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group, said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to watching more of their antics in season two. Congratulations to the entire cast and crew, and thanks to our partners at Max.”
World cinema subscription streaming VOD service Film Movement Plus Dec. 29 debuts 32 films new to the platform.
Just launched on Prime Video Channels for $5.99 per month, with a seven-day free trial for eligible new subscribers, the service is also available at filmmovementplus.com.
Among the several dozen acclaimed films are two masterworks from Hirokazu Kore-Eda (Monster, Shoplifters), After the Storm and The Third Murder; Antonia’s Line, the 1996 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film; Jan Komasa’s Corpus Christi, a 2020 Oscar nominee for Best International Feature Film, and Theeb, nominated for the same award in 2016; as well as classics including Sergio Corbucci’s The Great Silence and Takeshi Kitano’s Hana-Bi (Fireworks).
After the Storm (2016, Director Hirokazu Kore-Eda) — In Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Official Cannes Selection, a struggling novelist, now working as a private detective under the pretense of doing research, attempts to reconcile with his aging mother, ex-wife and 11-year-old son. As a typhoon passes, they end up spending the night together in his mother’s Tokyo apartment, but things don’t go particularly well for this fractured family. (117 minutes, Japanese w/English subs)
Antonia’s Line (1995, Director Marleen Gorris) — In the aftermath of WWII, strong-willed Antonia and her free-spirited daughter return to their hometown, ingratiating themselves with its tight-knit and eccentric community and fostering a vibrant circle of strong, liberated women in Marleen Gorris’ winner of the 1996 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. (102 minutes, Dutch w/English subtitles)
Corpus Christi (2019, Director Jan Komasa) — After spending years in a Warsaw prison for a violent crime, 20-year-old Daniel is released and sent to a remote village to work as a manual laborer. When he arrives in town, one quick lie allows him to be mistaken for the town’s new priest, and he sets about leading his newfound flock. Though he has no training, his passion and charisma inspire the community. At the same time, his unconventional sermons and unpriestly behavior raise suspicions among some of the townsfolk — even more so as he edges towards a dark secret that the community hasn’t revealed in the confessional booth. The film is a 2020 Academy Award nominee for Best International Feature Film. (116 minutes, Polish w/English Subtitles)
Dead Pigs (2018, Director Cathy Yan) — The fates of an unlucky pig farmer, a feisty home-owner defending her property, a lovestruck busboy, a disenchanted rich girl, and an American expat pursuing the Chinese Dream converge and collide as thousands of dead pigs are found floating down the Huangpu River, towards a modernizing Shanghai in Cathy Yan’s (Birds of Prey) debut feature. The film won the Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting at the Sundance Film Festival. (122 minutes, Mandarin w/English subtitles, English)
Hana-Bi (Fireworks) (1997, Director Takeshi Kitano) — Feeling responsible for the shattered lives of his loved ones, beleaguered police detective Nishi (Takeshi Kitano) takes desperate measures to try and set things right in a world gone wrong. With his wife suffering from leukemia and his partner paralyzed from a brutal gangster attack, Nishi borrows money from a yakuza loan shark and then robs a bank to clear his debt. The yakuza, however, are not so easily bought off, sending Nishi down a road paved with nihilism and violence. Considered Kitano’s first true cinematic masterpiece, the film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. (103 minutes, Japanese w/English subtitles)
Harmonium (2016, Director Koji Fukada) — Toshio (Kanji Furutachi) sees his seemingly ordinary life take an ominous turn when Yasaka (Tadanobu Asano), a mysterious friend from his past, arrives unexpectedly. Recently released from prison and in need of a helping hand, Toshio gives him a job and generously takes him in to live with his wife and daughter. Toshio soon regrets this decision, as Yasaka gradually disrupts the family before finally causing irreparable damage. (120 minutes, Japanese w/English subtitles)
My Love, Don’t Cross That River (2014, Director Jin Moyoung) — A blockbuster in its native Korea, where it would go on to become the country’s most successful film of all time, this film presents story of true love that transcends both generations and cultures. In the film, Jo Byeong-man and Kang Kye-yeol, “100-year old lovebirds,” have been inseparable companions for 76 years. Observing this fragile couple for 15 months, director Moyoung Jin acts as a fly-on-the-wall, capturing the tender moments of their twilight days — as the two face the inevitable reality that their time together will soon be approaching an end. (86 minutes, Korean w/English subtitles)
Oh Lucy! (2017, Director Atsuko Hirayanagi) — Bored Tokyo lady Setsuko (Independent Spirit Award-nominee Shinobu Terajima) breaks free of her monotonous life when her niece Mika (Shioli Kutsuna) convinces her to enroll in an unorthodox English class. There, she adopts a blonde-haired alter ego name “Lucy” and develops romantic feelings for her American instructor John (Josh Hartnett).But after his sudden disappearance, Setsuko follows his trail halfway around the world to Southern California, where family ties and past lives are tested as she struggles to fulfill the promise of “Lucy.” From executive producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, the film was nominated for both a Palme d’Or and Critic’s Week Grand Prize at Cannes. (96 minutes, English, Japanese w/English subtitles).
Paradise (2016, Director Andrei Konchalovsky) — Olga is a beautiful Russian countess and member of the French Resistance; Jules is a French-Nazi collaborator who is assigned to investigate her case; and Helmut is a handsome, high-ranking, yet naïve German SS officer who once fell madly in love with Olga and meets her again when she is shipped to a concentration camp. While they recount their stories, Paradise drifts between the bloody end of World War II and the gilded, halcyon days when their destinies first crossed. Victim, bystander, or monster — director Andrei Konchalovsky, who captured the Silver Lion for Best Director at Venice, collapses these identities, offering a new perspective on the Holocaust. Shot in black and white, the film depicts the morally complex choices that one must make during the darkest of times. (132 minutes, Russian, German, French w/English subtitles)
The Great Silence (1968, Director Sergio Corbucci) — On an unforgiving, snow-swept frontier, a group of bloodthirsty bounty hunters, led by the vicious Loco (Klaus Kinski) prey on a band of persecuted outlaws who have taken to the hills. Only a mute gunslinger named Silence (Jean-Louis Trintignant) stands between the innocent refugees and the corrupt bounty hunters. But, in this harsh, brutal world, the lines between right and wrong are not always clear, and good does not always triumph. Featuring superb photography and a haunting score from maestro Ennio Morricone, director Sergio Corbucci’s bleak, brilliant and violent vision of an immoral, honorless West is widely considered to be among the best and most influential Westerns ever made. (105 minutes, Italian w/English subtitles, English)
The Third Murder (2017, Director Hirokazu Kore-Eda) — Leading attorney Shigemori takes on the defense of murder-robbery suspect Misumi who served jail time for another murder 30 years ago. Shigemori’s chances of winning the case seem low — his client freely admits his guilt, despite facing the death penalty if he is convicted. As he digs deeper into the case, as he hears the testimonies of the victim’s family and Misumi himself, the once confident Shigemori begins to doubt whether his client is the murderer after all in this Golden Lion nominee at the Venice Film Festival. (124 minutes, Japanese w/English subtitles)
Theeb (2014, Director Naji Abu Nowar) — In 1916, while war rages in the Ottoman Empire, Hussein raises his younger brother Theeb (“Wolf”) in a traditional Bedouin community that is isolated by the vast, unforgiving desert. The brothers’ quiet existence is suddenly interrupted when a British Army officer and his guide ask Hussein to escort them to a water well located along the old pilgrimage route to Mecca. The young, mischievous Theeb secretly chases after his brother, but the group soon find themselves trapped amidst threatening terrain riddled with Ottoman mercenaries, Arab revolutionaries, and outcast Bedouin raiders. Naji Abu Nowar’s directorial debut, set in the land of Lawrence of Arabia, is a “Bedouin Western” about a boy who, in order to survive, must become a man and live up to the name his father gave him. The film was nominated for the 2016 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and a Golden Lion winner for Best Director at Venice.
Film Movement’s streaming service, Film Movement Plus, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary, Dec. 15 became available to Prime Video customers via Prime Video Channels in the United States.
The service is priced at $5.99 per month, with a seven-day free trial for eligible new subscribers. New titles will be added each week.
The Film Movement catalog features a curated collection of independent and world cinema, cult and arthouse classics, documentaries and North American exclusives.
Films available at launch on the Prime Video Channel include dozens of exclusives, such as Diamond Island, directed by Davy Chou (Return to Seoul); Holy Beasts with Geraldine Chaplin and Udo Kier; Mario Martone’s The Mayor of Rione Sanita; Hellhole, directed by Bas Devos (Here); Wayne Wang’s While the Women Were Sleeping; Claire Darling starring Catherine Deneuve; and the New York Times Critic’s Pick documentary Faith, the final film by Valentina Pedicini.
Critically lauded films from some of today’s most talented auteurs will be available as well, including A White White Day directed by Hlynur Pálmason (Godland); Koji Fukada’s A Girl Missing; Ciro Guerra’s The Wind Journeys; Diao Yinan’s The Wild Goose Lake; Peter Greenaway’s The Pillow Book; Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond’s My Little Sister; and Bruce LaBruce’s Saint-Narcisse. Award-winning documentaries include David Osit’s Mayor; Philippe Bellaiche’s and Rachel Leah Jones’ Advocate; and James Crump’s Antonio Lopez: Sex Fashion & Disco. Digitally-restored classics include Sergio Corbucci’s The Great Silence, Ang Lee’s theatrical debut Pushing Hands (available Dec. 15), Lee Tamahori’s Once Were Warriors, and Ming-liang Tsai’s Vive L’Amour.
Each month, Film Movement Plus will be updated with new exclusives and streaming premieres. Coming Dec. 22 is the exclusive premiere of The Inner Cage, a Venice competition title directed by Leonardo Di Costanzo and starring Toni Servillo (The Great Beauty), and on Dec. 29, Sonia Braga in the film that made her an international star, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, directed by Bruno Barreto. Also coming in December are Hirokazu Kore-eda’s After the Storm and The Third Murder; Naji Abu Nowar’s Academy-Award nominee Theeb; Takeshi Kitano’s Hana-Bi (Firesworks); Cathy Yan’s Dead Pigs; and Marleen Gorris’s Oscar winner Antonia’s Line.
Coming in January are Philipp Stölzl’s Chess Story, starring Oliver Masucci; Laura Wandel’s Oscar-shortlisted drama Playground; and exclusives including Asimina Proedrou’s Behind the Haystacks, Greece’s official submission for this year’s Best International Picture Academy Award, and Claudio Noce’s Italian drama Padrenostro, winner of a Best Actor award at the Venice Film Festival for Pierfrancesco Favino.
“Since 2002, Film Movement’s objective has been to acquire cinematic gems from around the world and share them with American audiences. And, for the past five years, Film Movement Plus has given us a broad platform to serve cineastes with curated cinema wherever they may be,” Michael Rosenberg, president of Film Movement, said in a statement. “By launching our service on Prime Video via Prime Video Channels, we make it even easier for customers to enjoy our films and find the many titles that are only available on Film Movement Plus.”
Leo, the animated film from voice star, co-writer and producer Adam Sandler, remained atop both the overall and English-language movie charts for the second week in a row with 23.6 million views, making it the most viewed title of the week once again.
On the English-language TV chart, the “Squid Game”-themed reality competition series “Squid Game: The Challenge,” remained in the top spot with 11.4 million views. Popularity in the competition series fueled renewed interest in Netflix’s most popular TV series of all-time, “Squid Game,” with 1.5 million views on the non-English language TV chart.
Sweden’s limited series “A Nearly Normal Family” claimed the top spot on the non-English TV chart with 10.5 million views. The romantic comedy “My Demon” (Korea) climbed to No. 2 (5.4 million views), while season two of the Korean horror series “Sweet Home” debuted on the list at No. 4 with 2.5 million views.
On the non-English-language movie chart, the romantic drama Last Call for Istanbul (Turkey) came in No. 1 for the second week with 8.8 million views. Returning favorites included the Italian documentary Ilary Blasi: The One and Only at No. 4 (2.5 million views), the Argentine drama Elena Knows at No. 6 (2.4 million views), the French action comedy All-Time High at No. 7 (2 million views) and the Korean actioner Believer 2 at No. 8 (1.8 million views).
Meanwhile, the new body-swap comedy Family Switch, starring Jennifer Garner and Ed Helms, debuted at No. 2 on the English-language movie chart with 22.2 million views.
Holiday films continued to dominate the English-language movie chart with Best. Christmas. Ever! coming in at No. 3 with 7 million views; Catering Christmas at No. 4 with 4.6 million views; Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch at No. 8 with 3.4 million views; and the Netflix film The Christmas Chroniclesat No. 10 (3 million views), marking the Kurt Russell family film’s third straight year on the top 10 charts. David Fincher’s The Killer registered its fourth week on the chart at No. 7 (3.6 million views), while Universal Pictures’ licensed The Super Mario Bros. Movie debuted at No. 9 with 3.1 million views.
Season one of the U.K.’s “Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife,” debuted on the English-language TV chart at No. 2 with 7.4 million views. Others got “Obliterated,” with the new action comedy bowing at No. 3 with 7 million views. Part one of the sixth and final season of “The Crown” finished at No. 4 with 3.9 million views, while season five of “Virgin River,”which includes the final two holiday episodesof the season,finished at No. 6 with 2.7 million views. Finally, Shawn Levy’s limited series “All The Light We Cannot See” spent its fifth week on the chart at No. 8 with 2 million views.
Netflix has announced a series order of “Ransom Canyon,” a drama set in Texas and starring Josh Duhamel and Minka Kelly.
From writer-creator-executive producer April Blair (“Wednesday,” “All American”), the 10-episode, romance-fueled family drama and contemporary Western saga charts the intersecting lives of three ranching families, all set against the rugged expanse of Texas Hill Country.
Josh Duhamel (The Lost Husband, Transformers, Love, Simon) will play Staten Kirkland, owner and sole occupant of the sprawling Double K Ranch. Steadfast and stoic, Staten leads the charge to resist outside forces threatening his way of life and the land that he loves.
Minka Kelly (“Euphoria,” New York Times best-selling Author, Friday Night Lights) plays Quinn, who has often found herself in the shadow of others. After a stint in New York pursuing her career as a concert pianist, she has returned to Ransom Canyon to carve out a new path for herself.
Warner Bros. Pictures’ Barbie — the top box office movie of the year — will make its streaming debut on Max on Dec. 15 at midnight PT/3 a.m. ET.
The film, which has earned more than $1.44 billion at the global box office, is the highest-grossing global release in the studio’s 100-year history.
Warner Bros. and Max have announced Barbie with ASL, the blockbuster film interpreted in American Sign Language (ASL), will be also available to stream on Max on Dec. 15. Grounded in research and feedback from the Deaf community, as well as counsel from community leaders, Barbie with ASL was produced for Max featuring ASL performer Leila Hanaumi (Deaf Austin Theatre’s “The Laramie Project,” ASL cover for Tove Lo in “True Romance” music video). Barbie with ASL will be displayed as a unique title in-app and can be identified by its key art with the sign language symbol.
To celebrate Barbie with ASL coming to the platform, Max will host a special community screening on Dec. 14 in Los Angeles, where Barbie star and Oscar-nominee Margot Robbie (Bombshell, I, Tonya) will join Leila Hanaumi on stage for a post-screening conversation for hundreds of community members and Barbie fans. The event will be in collaboration with the Tony Award-winning Los Angeles nonprofit Deaf West Theatre and RespectAbility, whose mission is to fight stigmas and advance opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.
“Max is the premiere destination for storytelling, so being able to share the biggest movie of the year in ASL, the first language for many, will make this story resonate in a more meaningful way,” Casey Bloys chairman and CEO, HBO and Max Content, said in a statement. “By offering sign language interpretation, we will build upon the film’s empowering message of inclusiveness and offer a unique viewing experience for the Deaf community to enjoy with family and friends.”
From Oscar-nominated writer/director Greta Gerwig (Little Women, Lady Bird), Barbie stars Oscar-nominees Robbie (Bombshell, I, Tonya) and Ryan Gosling (La La Land, Half Nelson) as Barbie and Ken. The film follows the iconic Mattel doll as she experiences an existential crisis.
The streaming bundle wars could get a new team. Apple TV+ and Paramount+ are reportedly considering a combined offer that would be less expensive than subscribing to the two services separately. Talks of a bundle are in the early stages, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources familiar with the situation.
With media companies not named Netflix scrambling to right-size direct-to-consumer streaming operations, combining platforms — including competitors — is viewed as a way to offset rising standalone subscription prices and to reduce churn (subscribers not renewing service).
Disney has long pushed the bundle as a means of upping subscribers to its flagship Disney+ platform as well as Hulu and ESPN+. The strategy has worked with the three platforms ending the most recent fiscal period with 116.9 million combined North American subs.
Paramount+ has aggressively sought out third-party affiliations, including ties with the $98 Walmart+ platform, Delta Air Lines, and the recent merger with Showtime Anytime. Paramount ended the most-recent fiscal quarter with 63 million global subscribers.
Apple TV+ has never released subscriber numbers. But Apple did report record “services” revenue of more than $22 billion. The business segment includes Services revenue includes sales of movies and TV shows on iTunes, the App Store, Mac App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and Apple News+, among others.
This week, NBCUniversal’s Peacock service announced a promotion with Instacart+, the $9.99 grocery delivery service, which offers users access to ad-supported Peacock.
“It’s clear that bundles are here to stay,” Erin McPherson, chief content officer at Verizon told the Journal. Verizon currently bundles Netflix with Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max service on its +Play platform.
“Lawmen: Bass Reeves” has set a new record as Paramount+’s most watched global series premiere of the year. Episodes one and two, which the series debuted with, have been seen by an average global audience of more than 7.5 million for the first seven days across Paramount+ and its broadcast sampling run on CBS.
The series follows the journey of Reeves (David Oyelowo) and his rise from enslavement to law enforcement as the first Black U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi. Despite arresting over 3,000 outlaws during the course of his career, the weight of the badge was heavy, and he wrestled with its moral and spiritual cost to his beloved family.
“Our goal at Yoruba Saxon is simple, to normalize the marginalized for a global audience,” Oyelowo, executive producer and star, said in a statement. “The international embrace of ‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ shows that borders are no boundary to a fresh perspective on a great story.”
“We’re so thrilled with the response this series has garnered from viewers around the globe,” Domenic DiMeglio, EVP and chief marketing officer, Paramount Streaming, said in a statement. “The incredible story of Bass Reeves was not widely known and thanks to David’s passionate efforts to bring this story to life, audiences are now learning more about the fascinating and inspiring man that was Bass Reeves and his contributions to history.”
“Bass Reeves is an American hero and the first Black U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi River; we are honored to amplify his powerful story based on the creative vision of David Oyelowo, Chad Feehan and our brilliant partner Taylor Sheridan,” Chris McCarthy, president/CEO, Showtime and MTV Entertainment Studios, said in a statement. “The record setting performance of ‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ catapulted it into the top five most streamed shows in the U.S. and is just another proof point of how our unique multi-platform approach continues to be a competitive advantage,”
The original drama premiered exclusively on Paramount+ with two episodes on Nov. 5 in the United States and all Paramount+ international markets.
CBS broadcast aired a special sampling of the first two episodes on Nov. 12 following an episode of “Yellowstone.”
The remaining six episodes are rolling out weekly on Sundays exclusively on Paramount+, with the finale streaming Dec. 17.
The cast also includes Shea Whigham and Garrett Hedlund as guest stars, and, in recurring roles, Joaquina Kalukango, Lonnie Chavis, Tosin Morohunfola, Dale Dickey, Rob Morgan, Ryan O’Nan, Margot Bingham, Mo Brings Plenty, Justin Hurtt-Dunkley and Bill Dawes.
Created for television by executive producer and showrunner Chad Feehan, the series also is executive produced by Oscar nominee Taylor Sheridan, Oyelowo, David C. Glasser, Jessica Oyelowo, David Permut, Christina Alexandra Voros, Ron Burkle, Bob Yari and David Hutkin. The series is produced by MTV Entertainment Studios, 101 Studios, Sheridan’s Bosque Ranch Productions and Oyelowo’s Yoruba Saxon, and is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution outside of Paramount+ international markets.
Subscription video-on-demand service revenue in Japan is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.1% from $3.5 billion in 2022 to $6 billion in 2027, forecasts data and analytics company GlobalData.
The increase will be driven by the strong growth in SVOD subscriptions and unique SVOD households, and a steady rise in the average monthly revenue per unique SVOD household, according to GlobalData.
GlobalData’s latest Japan SVOD forecast reveals that the growth in SVOD subscriptions in the country during 2022-2027 will be supported by the continued rise in household penetration of fixed broadband services, particularly fiber-to-the-home/building (FTTH/B) services, and the subsequent consumer shift from traditional pay-TV services to OTT video platforms.
“The projected rise in the monthly average SVOD revenue per unique SVOD household from $9.29 in 2022 to $12.28 in 2027 is expected to be driven by the increasing consumption of premium video content in the country,” Kantipudi Pradeepthi, telecom analyst at GlobalData, said in a statement.
The Amazon Prime Video platform is set to lead the Japan’s SVOD market and will account for the largest share of SVOD subscriptions through the forecast period followed by Netflix, according to GlobalData.
“Amazon’s growth can be attributed to its complementary offering of its e-commerce service with the same subscription amount, and competitive pricing,” Pradeepthi said in a statement. “Additionally, the availability of local Japanese content, including licensed anime and American films and television shows, will also help Prime Video maintain its leadership position during the forecast period.”
Paramount+ Nov. 29 began offering a 10% discount to AARP members.
All AARP members are eligible for ongoing discounted plans for both the Paramount+ Essential and Paramount+ with Showtime plans.
The promotion is available to new and returning subscribers in the United States (excluding Puerto Rico) and is applicable for both monthly and annual plans.
“Aligning with world-class brands has been a cornerstone of our market-leading growth strategy, and we are thrilled to introduce a new offer with AARP that enables us to engage with millions of their members,” Jeff Shultz, chief Strategy Officer and chief business development officer, Paramount Streaming, said in a statement. “Our total household offering, which includes popular content from studios such as CBS, Paramount Pictures and Showtime, means Paramount+ is a natural fit for the AARP audience, and we are excited that this new deal allows us to better reach this vast and active community.”
“We’re thrilled to share that AARP members now can enjoy access to Paramount+ streaming services,” Jason Mugg, AARP’s SVP of lifestyle, said in a statement. “This addition provides real value, catering to the diverse entertainment needs of our members and enhancing their everyday experiences.”