Parrot: Death of Prince Philip Gave ‘The Crown’ a Demand Bump

The death of the U.K.’s Prince Philip increased global demand for the Netflix series “The Crown,” according to Parrot Analytics.

In the days immediately following Prince Philip’s death, “The Crown” saw double digit percentage increases in demand worldwide, and in the show’s two most popular markets — the United Kingdom and the United States.

From April 8 (the day before Prince Philip’s death) to April 10, Parrot Analytics tracked the following increases in audience demand for “The Crown”:

  • U.S. demand increased by 47.1%, peaking at 28.1 times more in-demand than the average series in the United States on April 10;
  • U.K. demand increased by 28.8%, peaking at 30.4 times more in-demand than the average series in the United Kingdom on April 10;
  • Worldwide demand increased by 30.1%, peaking at 51.4 times more in-demand than the average series globally on April 10.

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By April 10, “The Crown” rose up the demand ranks, becoming the 30th most in-demand series in the United States across all platforms, up from 96th most on April 8; the fifth most in-demand series in the United Kingdom across all platforms, up from 12th most on April 8; and the eighth most in-demand series worldwide across all platforms, up from 25th most on April 8.

While the Prince Philip bump has been a boon for “The Crown,” Parrot tracked even higher global and United Kingdom demand for the show following two other recent news events — the show’s multiple wins at the Golden Globes on Feb. 28 and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey on March 7.

Parrot Analytics’ proprietary metric Demand Expressions measures demand for TV content in a given market through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites. Results are expressed as a comparison with the average demand for a TV show of any kind in the market.

Pete Davidson to Star in Biopic ‘I Slept With Joey Ramone’ for Netflix

Netflix and STXfilms have partnered to develop and produce I Slept with Joey Ramone, a biopic chronicling the life of the punk rocker.

Directed by Jason Orley (Big Time Adolescence, Pete Davidson: Alive from New York and upcoming film I Want You Back), the film will star Pete Davidson (“Saturday Night Live,The King of Staten Island, Big Time Adolescence and upcoming films The Suicide Squad and American Sole). The treatment is written by Pete Davidson and Jason Orley based on the Mickey Leigh memoir of the same name.

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“When you share a bed with someone — and not just a bed, but a childhood, a family, and a lifetime — you know that person better than anybody else,” said Adam Fogelson, chairman STXfilms Motion Picture Group in a statement. “Mickey Leigh not only collaborated with his big brother’s band — he has irreplaceable memories of and insights into Joey Ramone, having supported him when no one else would and witnessed him overcome adversity in the most dramatic way. I Slept with Joey Ramone is a great rock anthem that will make an equally great rock biopic, set apart by a universal story of family. Pete is perfect for this role, and we’re excited he and Jason will be bringing this icon of rock to life and thrilled to be collaborating once again with our friends at Netflix.”

The film will be made with the cooperation and support of the Estate of Joey Ramone and with the assistance of Rosegarten Films.

Orley and Davidson previously teamed up on the feature film Big Time Adolescence, which Orley wrote and directed. Orley also directed Davidson’s standup special Alive from New York for Netflix.

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.

‘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).

Netflix Pledges to Combat Climate Change With New Initiative

Netflix will aim to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2022, and every year thereafter with a plan called Net Zero + Nature, according to a blog post.

“Scientists around the world agree we need to stabilize the climate at no more than a 1.5ºC temperature rise to avoid the worst results of climate change — and ensure healthy life support systems for our children,” wrote Emma Stewart, Ph.D. and Netflix sustainability officer.

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Netflix pledges to:

Step 1: Reduce its emissions by reducing internal emissions, aligning with the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The company will also reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 45% by 2030, based on the Science-Based Targets Initiative Guidance.

Step 2: Retain existing carbon storage. By the end of 2021, for emissions it can’t avoid internally, including Scope 3 emissions, it will fully neutralize them by investing in projects that prevent carbon from entering the atmosphere. Netflix will start by conserving at-risk natural areas like tropical forests that are critical to meeting global climate goals.

Step 3: Remove carbon from the atmosphere. By the end of 2022, Netflix will incorporate investment in the regeneration of critical natural ecosystems to achieve net zero. These projects, such as restoring grasslands, mangroves, and healthy soils, capture and store carbon, in addition to other benefits.

“Nature is at the heart of our commitment, as environmental leaders like Christiana Figueres tell us we can’t achieve climate goals without protecting and regenerating natural ecosystems,” she wrote. “This approach buys us time to decarbonize our economy, while restoring these life support systems.

“For example, the Lightning Creek Ranch project in Oregon shows our ‘Retain’ goal in practice — with our investment helping preserve North America’s largest bunchgrass prairie. In Kenya, we’re supporting the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project,  protecting the dryland forest that’s home to hundreds of endangered species and provides local residents alternative incomes to unsustainable activities like poaching.”

Netflix Testing Weekly Rollout of ‘The Circle’ and ‘Too Hot to Handle’

The second seasons of the Netflix unscripted competition series “The Circle” and “Too Hot to Handle” will premiere in batches on Wednesdays beginning in April, instead of dropping all at once, according to a blog post.

Netflix is “experimenting with the release format so you have time to dissect and dish on every step of the competition as it unfolds,” according to the post from Brandon Riegg, VP of unscripted and documentary series.

“We’ll debut several new episodes at a time on Wednesdays beginning with the first four episodes of ‘The Circle’ on April 14,” he wrote. “Once ‘The Circle’ wraps in May, ‘Too Hot to Handle’ takes over in June.”

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Season two of “The Circle” features 13 episodes in which a cast of eight new contestants enter The Circle, where they compete in challenges against each other for top influencer on a social media platform with $100,000 on the line. The four-week episode drop is as follows: April 14, episodes 1-4; April 21, episodes 5-8; April 28, episodes 9-12; and May 5, the finale.

Season two of “Too Hot to Handle” features 10 new singles competing for $100,000, with new episodes premiering on Wednesdays in June.

Analyst Michael Pachter: Breaking Windows Destroys Value

Michael Pachter thinks the right thing for studios to do after the pandemic subsides is to reopen some windows.

Speaking at a DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group virtual presentation March 24, the Wedbush Securities media analyst said the way for content owners to get the most from their content is to once again have a theatrical window, along with several others in which they can maximize the value of content.

“It is suboptimal if a consumer spends the same amount of money … and subscribes to five services and consumes three times as much content,” he said. “Somebody loses. So the creatives can’t get paid and the publishers of their content can’t get paid if the total pie stays the same and people consume more. So it’s in the best interest of everybody in the value chain to maximize profit, which means theatrical, followed by PVOD or VOD, followed by DVD, and then make the streaming guys wait three years.”

He isn’t keen on the moves by several studios of late to send first-run theatrical releases to their streaming services concurrently with theatrical release, and he thinks it shouldn’t last.

“I think that if the world ever returns to normal, and that’s a 2022 prospect at the earliest, but if the world returns to normal, I think greed is going to thrive,” he said. “I think that the studios are going to maximize the theatrical window again, maybe that’s a 45-day window and not a 70-day window, but you’re going to have [a theatrical window] for a while. You have to remember all the constituencies involved in creating film. Directors like to win Best Director, and actors like to be on ‘The View’ and they like to be on ‘Access Hollywood’ and they like to measure their success in terms of box office. So when you release a movie like Bird Box direct to Netflix, what does everybody get paid? It’s impossible to actually track how much revenue that generated. Ultimately, everybody who works in this industry is motivated by getting paid for their hard work and the best way to get paid is to maximize revenue.”

Disney’s strategy of Premier Access on its streaming service (with an additional fee) for first-run films is a short-term phenomenon, he contended.

“I don’t think they’re going to see any meaningful spike in subscribers, that they are going to abandon this pretty quickly,” he said, noting, “Honestly, nobody is signing up for Disney+ to see Black Widow, period, or Mulan or Raya.”

WarnerMedia’s scheme to send all of its first-run films to its streaming service HBO Max for a year “was an overcommitment,” he said.

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“If you remember a famous HBO product, ‘Game of Thrones,’ we can say, ‘You know nothing, [AT&T CEO] John Stankey,’” Pachter said. “That guy knows nothing about anything. And I’m a big fan of Jason Kilar, and he’s I think in charge of the studio at HBO Max. … My bias is that AT&T bit off way more than they could chew when they bought Time Warner. They’re trying to package HBO Max and sell it and maybe later sell the studio, and I think they’re doing everything they can to make the HBO Max asset worth a lot because they think they’re going to get a Netflix multiple on that, so I think they’re making bad decisions for the creatives and for maximizing profit for the content by shoving it onto HBO Max. I really think that’s where that’s all coming from, but again It’s hard to get in the head of somebody who actually doesn’t know what they’re doing, so it’s hard to second guess. I don’t think the guy knows what he’s doing. I don’t think he has a clue — in way over his head.”