New Volumes of ‘Let’s Go Luna’ and ‘Nature Cat’ Heading to PBS Kids Prime Video Channel in December

New volumes of “Let’s Go Luna” and “Nature Cat” are coming to the PBS Kids Prime Video Channel in December. 
 
The subscription rate for the PBS Kids Prime Video Channel is $4.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription. For three days only (Dec. 13-15) Amazon Prime members will be able to subscribe to the channel for half the price for six months.

Let’s Go Luna, Volume 9, consisting of five episodes, starts streaming Dec. 3. The series follows the adventures of three friends — Leo, a wombat from Australia; Carmen, a butterfly from Mexico; and Andy, a frog from the United States — as they traverse the globe, from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Boston, Mass. In “Big Little Trouble/Leo the Viking,” the Circo accidentally pitches their tent right over a community of Huldufolk in Reykjavik, Iceland, and as a result, a local acrobat will not be able perform. Then in “Old School/Yankee Doodle Andy,” Leo wants to attend school at a traditional institution in Boston because he is sure he will learn more there than at the Circo school. Also, Andy learns the history of the Fourth of July and uses the knowledge to inspire changes at school.

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Nature Cat, Volume 11, consisting of three episodes,  starts streaming Dec. 10. In “Niagara Falls/Nature Plant,” viewers see what’s on Nature Cat’s bucket list, which includes visiting Niagara Falls, one of the most famous waterfalls in the world. Then, in “Under Pressure/Rainy Day,” Nature Cat and the crew are ready to go outside and play, but it’s pouring rain. In “The Grand Mystery of the Grand Canyon/The Strongest Show on Earth,” Nature Cat and the gang are off on a nature walk to a park. But this isn’t a regular park — it’s the Grand Canyon.

Doc ‘Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers’ Debuts on Discovery+ Dec. 16

The documentary Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers will launch exclusively on Discovery+ Dec. 16. 

In the documentary, more than a dozen members of the Royal Family offer their personal thoughts and reflections as they pay tribute to the life of His Royal Highness Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh. Filmed throughout the late royal’s 100th year — before and after his death in April 2021 — the portrait of the Duke of Edinburgh features those who knew him best: his family and closest staff.

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All the children of the Queen and the Duke, along with their adult grandchildren and other members of the Royal Family agreed to take part in this unique portrait of the longest-serving consort in royal history.

Originally conceived to mark Prince Philip’s 100th birthday, the film goes inside Buckingham Palace to meet the Duke’s long-serving staff and to capture his study, private office and library, exactly as they were during his seven decades at the heart of royal life.

With special access to the Queen’s private film collection, this documentary is a portrait of a man with a unique place in royal history by those who knew him best.

 

Sky Comedy ‘Bloods’ Heading to Hulu Dec. 9

The first season of the Sky comedy “Bloods” will start streaming on Hulu Dec. 9 as part of a multi-series deal.

The British series follows tough-acting loner Maleek (BAFTA nominated Samson Kayo) and over-friendly divorcee Wendy (Golden Globe nominated Jane Horrocks) as a pair of mismatched paramedics and their fellow ambulance station colleagues through the life-saving world of a south London emergency service.

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The show’s cast also includes Lucy Punch (“Motherland”) as boisterous station boss Jo and Julian Barratt (“Mighty Boosh”) as grieving widower Lawrence. Adrian Scarborough (“Gavin and Stacey”) and Aasiya Shah (“Raised By Wolves”) are Gary and Kareshma, paramedics with diametrically apposing career outlooks, and Kevin Garry (“Ted Lasso”) and Sam Campbell (Melbourne International Comedy Festival Barry Award winner) as the glued-to-the-hip duo of paramedics Darrell and Darryl.

HBO Max Orders Cooking Competition Series ‘The Big Brunch’

HBO Max has ordered the unscripted cooking competition series “The Big Brunch” from Dan Levy and Boardwalk Pictures (“Chef’s Table,” “Cheer”). The series is slated to premiere next year.

Created and hosted by Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”), “The Big Brunch” will offer chefs the opportunity share their stories and their business dreams, while also competing for a life altering prize — all while finding innovative and personal ways to redefine what it means to dine between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“Everybody has a friend, a family member, or a co-worker that is extraordinary at what they do, they just need a leg up so that their talents can be appreciated on a larger scale,” Levy said in a statement. “Thanks to an almost obsessive love of food, I’ve been lucky enough to come across many of those people in the culinary world — friends working out of cafes or food trucks, revolutionizing the menus at local diners — those special humans who create communities around their cooking, hoping to take their skills to the next level. I created this show for them, the local culinary heroes of America who deserve a spotlight. That, and who doesn’t want to watch maple syrup being poured slowly over a golden stack of perfectly cooked, creme brûlée inspired French toast?”

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“What we love about this special show is that it serves more than mouth-watering culinary delicacies; it’s about heart, a love of cooking and spotlighting talent whose unique skills elevate the beloved brunch menu,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max, said in a statement. “There’s no better foodie or creative partner than Dan and the team at Boardwalk Pictures to celebrate those undiscovered voices, and, well, Brunch, the best meal to indulge in decadent sweet and savory dishes that are fueled by cocktails and caffeine.”

StarzPlay SVOD Service Adds South Asian Channels in Deal With Star TV

Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region SVOD service StarzPlay has signed a deal with Star TV network to feature six of its entertainment channels, expanding into the South Asian entertainment segment.

StarzPlay has introduced an all-new dedicated South Asian entertainment package that features Star Plus ME, Star Gold International, Jalsha Movies, Asianet Movies, Star Vijay International and Asianet ME channels.

“Over the years, we have built strategic partnerships to offer rich and relevant content to our diverse audience,” Maaz Sheikh, CEO of StarzPlay, said in a statement. “Our latest association with Star TV network is an expansion of our content offering as we enter the Asian entertainment space which is hugely popular and loved in this region. This new deal is dedicated to our South Asian subscribers who can enjoy the very best of TV entertainment with our new package. Star TV is a much-loved TV network in the region, and we are proud to associate with them to further expand their reach across the MENA region.”

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“We are delighted to associate with StarzPlay to offer world-class entertainment to South Asian audiences in the region,” Sudhir Nagpal, SVP and head of international business at Star India, said in a statement. “The MENA region has a large number of South Asian expatriates, and we are excited to bring our compelling and multi-lingual portfolio through the region’s leading streaming service — StarzPlay. We constantly explore opportunities to reach our audiences through new avenues and this association with StarzPlay is a step further to reach out to viewers across the Middle Eastern region.”

Subscribers can find an assortment of multi-lingual programming via the six new Star TV channels. Three cricket channels, CricLife Max, CricLife and CricLife 2, that StarzPlay already has access to through a separate deal with Etisalat also will be part of this package.

‘Dune’ Top Streaming Movie, ‘You’ Again Top Streaming Original on Weekly Whip Media Charts

Dune, streaming on HBO Max, led the Whip Media chart of top streaming movies, while Netflix’s “You” the chart of top streaming originals among U.S. consumers for the week ended Oct. 24.

Dune, Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures’ adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 science-fiction novel, debuted on HBO Max Oct. 21, a day ahead of its North American theatrical release. The film stars Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya.

Season three of the psychological thriller series “You,” which started streaming Oct. 15, features the continuation of Joe Goldberg’s fraught relationship with Love, who is pregnant with his child in a new suburban home. The series also led the streaming originals chart in the previous week.

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV and movie viewership tracking app with 18 million global users. The streaming originals chart rankings are determined by streaming original TV series with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app. The movie rankings are determined by theatrical or streaming movies with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app.

At No. 2 on the streaming movies chart was Universal Pictures’ Halloween Kills, the latest entrant in the long-running horror series, available for streaming to Peacock Premium SVOD subscribers as well as in theaters. The sequel to the 2018 reboot from Blumhouse has Jamie Lee Curtis again reprising her role as Laurie Strode intent on ending the murderous reign of Michael Myers.

Landing at No. 3 on the streaming movies chart was Night Teeth, a vampire thriller that bowed on Netflix Oct. 20.

Meanwhile, repeating at No. 2 on the streaming originals chart was “Squid Game,” Netflix’s South Korean hit series that follows a group of desperate and cash-strapped people competing in a blood-thirsty survival game. It started streaming Sept. 17.

Repeating at No. 3 on the streaming originals chart was Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez. The finale debuted Oct. 19.

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Top Streaming Originals Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended Oct. 24:

  1. “You” — Netflix
  2. “Squid Game” — Netflix
  3. “Only Murders in the Building” — Hulu
  4. “Locke & Key” — Netflix (season premiere)
  5. “Titans” (2018) — HBO Max
  6. “The Morning Show” — Apple TV+
  7. “Ted Lasso” — Apple TV+
  8. “Young Justice” — HBO Max
  9. “Another Life” (2019) — Netflix
  10. “Doom Patrol” — HBO Max

 

Top Streaming Movies Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended Oct. 24:

  1. Dune — HBO Max
  2. Halloween Kills — Peacock
  3. Night Teeth — Netflix
  4. Black Widow — Disney+
  5. The Guilty — Netflix
  6. Dave Chappelle: The Closer — Netflix
  7. Scream — AMC+
  8. Halloween (1978) — AMC+
  9. The Many Saints of Newark — HBO Max
  10. Cruella — Disney+

Apple TV+ to Bow Its First Korean-Language Series, ‘Dr. Brain’

“Dr. Brain,” a new six-episode Korean-language Apple Original series will premiere globally on Nov. 4 (Nov. 3 in the United States) on Apple TV+.

Based on the popular Korean webtoon of the same name by Hongjacga, “Dr. Brain” marks the first Korean-language series to debut on Apple TV+.

The sci-fi drama series, written, directed and executive produced by Kim Jee-woon, will premiere with the first episode, followed by one new episode weekly through Dec. 10, 2021.

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The series follows a brilliant brain scientist Sewon (Lee Sun-kyun, Parasite) who suffers a horrific personal tragedy when his family falls victim to a mysterious accident. Desperate to uncover what happened, he goes to extraordinary lengths to solve the tragic mystery by conducting “brain syncs” with the dead to access their memories for clues.

The series also stars Lee You-young, Park Hee-soon, Seo Ji-hye and Lee Jae-won.

Basketball Story ‘Rise’ Hitting Disney+ in 2022

Rise, a Disney film based on the real life story of the Antetokounmpo basketball family, will debut on Disney+ in 2022.

The family produced the first trio of brothers to become NBA champions in the history of the league — Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Laker Kostas Antetokounmpo. The Antetokounmpos mix Nigerian heritage, Greek nationality and extraordinary athletic ability. In Rise, audiences witness how one family’s vision, determination and faith lifted them out of obscurity to launch the career of three NBA champions — two-time MVP Giannis and his brothers, Thanasis and Kostas. Last season, Giannis and Thanasis helped bring the Bucks their first championship ring in 50 years, while Kostas played for the previous season champs, the Lakers.

After emigrating to Greece from Nigeria, Vera and Charles Antetokounmpo struggled to survive and provide for their five children, while living under the daily threat of deportation. With their oldest son still in Nigeria with relatives, the couple were desperate to obtain Greek citizenship but found themselves undermined by a system that blocked them at every turn. When they weren’t selling items to tourists on the streets of Athens with the rest of the family, encouraged by their father, the brothers would sneak away to play basketball with a local youth team. Latecomers to the sport, they discovered their great abilities on the basketball court and worked hard to become world class athletes. With the help of an agent, Giannis entered the NBA Draft in 2013 in a long shot prospect that would change not only his life but the life of his entire family.

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Newcomer Uche Agada and Ral Agada — also real-life brothers — portray young Giannis and Thanasis, with Jaden Osimuwa and Elijah Shomanke as their other two brothers, Kostas and Alex, respectively. The film stars Dayo Okeniyi (“Emperor,” “Shades of Blue”) and Yetide Badaki (“American Gods,” “This Is Us”) as their parents Charles and Vera, with Manish Dayal as Giannis’ tenacious agent Kevin and Taylor Nichols as John Hammond, general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks. Also in the cast are Maximiliano Hernandez, Eddie Cahill, Pilar Holland and McColm Kona Cephas Jr.

“I am thrilled and honored that Disney+ is bringing my family’s story to people all over the world,” Giannis Antetokounmpo said in a statement. “My hope is that it will inspire those in similar circumstances to keep the faith, stay true to their goals and not to give up on striving for a better life.”

Just as Giannis’ entering the Draft was a seminal moment for his family, Uche Agada’s being cast in Rise proved to be a seminal moment for the Agada family. Uche was working at a WaWa drive-thru in New Jersey when he saw a screenshot of an Instagram post from Giannis about a casting call for someone new and fresh to portray him in the film. Uche had to ask for time off from his job to do the series of auditions, and eventually won the role of Giannis. After being cast, he suggested that the filmmakers have his brother Ral audition for the role of Thiannis, which led to both Agada brothers portraying two of the Antekounmpo brothers in the film.

Studio Ghibli Film ‘Earwig and the Witch’ Hitting Netflix Nov. 18

The latest Studio Ghibli animated film, Earwig and the Witch, will be available on Netflix starting Nov. 18.

The release expands the existing Studio Ghibli film catalog available on Netflix globally (excluding the U.S. and Japan). Since 2020, 21 films from Studio Ghibli have been available to viewers across the world on Netflix.

Earwig and the Witch tells the story of a headstrong young girl who grew up in an orphanage. Her life changes dramatically when a strange couple takes her in, and she is forced to live with a selfish witch. Directed by Goro Miyazaki with planning by Hayao Miyazaki and screenplay by Keiko Niwa and Emi Gunji, the story of Earwig is based on a novel of the same name by English writer Diana Wynne Jones.

“We’re thrilled that our film Earwig and the Witch will reach many countries and territories through Netflix,” said director Goro Miyazaki in a statement.”The film is Studio Ghibli’s first fully 3D CGI film which prompted us with an exciting challenge to reflect the spirit and pride of our studio using this new art form. Through that experience we met Earwig, our rebellious protagonist who grows to overcome difficulties with her wits and relentless energy. We hope you will come to love our Earwig, just like you enjoyed spending time with the main characters in our last 21 films. Today, the world is forced to continue its journey into a chaotic era. We hope this film will inspire our children who live long into the future.”

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“We’re incredibly fortunate to continue expanding the Studio Ghibli film lineup on Netflix by streaming Earwig and the Witch,” Aram Yacoubian, director of animation film at Netflix, said in a statement. “The highly anticipated new film of Goro Miyazaki will bring a fresh perspective to the wildly popular Studio Ghibli films. In countries and territories where we stream Studio Ghibli films (excluding the U.S. and Japan), 55 million households have chosen to watch a Studio Ghibli film on Netflix since 2020, and that number will only continue to grow. We’ve been blown away by the positive reactions from viewers everywhere, proving that stories can come from anywhere, and can be loved everywhere.”

The adventures of Earwig will soon be available to fans across the world and in more than 30 languages, including Japanese, English, Mandarin, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai in addition to many more languages available in subtitles.

The full lineup of Studio Ghibli films available on Netflix includes:

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Castle in the Sky (1986)
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Only Yesterday (1991)
Porco Rosso (1992)
Ocean Waves (1993)
Pom Poko (1994)
Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Princess Mononoke (1997)
My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)
Spirited Away (2001)
The Cat Returns (2002)
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
Tales from Earthsea (2006)
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (2008)
Arrietty (2010)
From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
The Wind Rises (2013)
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013)
When Marnie Was There (2014)
Earwig and the Witch (2020)

Amazon Prime Video to Stream Fourth ‘Hotel Transylvania’ Film

Amazon Prime Video has licensed worldwide streaming rights (excluding China) to Hotel Transylvania: Transformania from Sony Pictures Animation. The fourth installment of the family film franchise will premiere worldwide in more than 240 countries and territories on Prime Video on Jan. 14, 2022.

In the film, Drac (Brian Hull) and his monster pals are all transformed into humans, and Johnny (Andy Samberg) becomes a monster. In their new mismatched bodies, Drac, stripped of his powers, and an exuberant Johnny, loving life as a monster, must team up and race across the globe to find a cure. With help from Mavis (Selena Gomez) and the now human Drac Pack, the heat is on to find a way to switch themselves back before their transformations become permanent. The film also features the voices of Kathryn Hahn (Ericka), Steve Buscemi (Wayne), Molly Shannon (Wanda), David Spade (Griffin the Invisible Man), Keegan-Michael Key (Murray), Fran Drescher (Eunice), Brad Abrell (Frank) and Asher Blinkoff (Wesley the Wolf Pup).

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“The success of the ‘Hotel Transylvania’ franchise over the years speaks for itself,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “Audiences around the world have fallen in love with the films created by the brilliant Genndy Tartakovsky, and the latest installment is the perfect ending to an incredible journey. We could not be more excited to work with Sony, Genndy, Jennifer Kluska, Derek Drymon, Selena Gomez and the talented producing team to bring this funny, heartwarming film to our customers early next year.”

“The ‘Hotel Transylvania’ franchise has been exceptional for Sony Pictures Animation, spanning nearly a decade and introducing the world to Genndy Tartakovsky’s singular vision, and we’re so proud of what our extraordinary directors Jennifer Kluska and Derek Drymon have brought to this special property,” Kristine Belson, president of Sony Pictures Animation, said in a statement. “These films have thrilled audiences and paved the way for so many artists working in CG animation, and now the family saga of Dracula and his daughter Mavis, son-in-law Johnny, and monster BFFs is coming to a close. We are thrilled to work with Amazon to bring this film to families everywhere.”

For the final chapter of the “Hotel Transylvania” film series, franchise creator Genndy Tartakovsky returns as one of the screenwriters and executive producers. Gomez will also serve as an executive producer. Directed by Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska, the film is produced by Alice Dewey Goldstone and executive produced by Tartakovsky, Michelle Murdocca, and Gomez. The story is by Genndy Tartakovsky with a screenplay by Amos Vernon, Nunzio Randazzo and Genndy Tartakovsky.