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ITV Preparing for Launch of ITVX

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Earlier this year, ITV held quite the presser that had plenty of star power as they hyped up the launch of their new streaming platform ITVX, with stars such as Helena Bonham Carter, showrunner Russell T. Davies, and David Tenant in attendance.

The United Kingdom public service broadcaster made some noise in the industry and certainly did solid work in building up the ITVX platform’s branding.

The platform is set to launch today and boasts an impressive 15,000 hours of content, with half originating from in-house production and distribution powerhouse ITV Studios, an entity that has been rumored to be potentially up for sale.

“Word of mouth will really count for a lot,” ITV content boss Kevin Lygo said at the time of the presser (h/t Variety). “We’re going to give them a better chance to watch when they want, how they want.”

Read more about the platform’s content, via Variety, below:

Nolly

Created and written by “Doctor Who” and “It’s a Sin” showrunner Russell T. Davies, this biopic tells the story of 1980s soap opera icon Nora Gordon. At the peak of her career she was the star of “Crossroads” and one of the most famous faces of British TV. Until one day when she was unexpectedly dumped from the show. “It was front page headlines in every single newspaper and it always stayed with me because it was a very mysterious sacking,” Davies recalls. “She was sacked overnight. And I wondered about it for many years why that happened, did all the research and kind of find out why. It’s essentially the story of a queen who loses her crown.”

In the show Gordon, who was known to friends and fans as “Nolly,” is portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter, who described Davies’ screenplay as a “gift.” “It’s just so wonderful when you read something, it’s a no brainer, and you don’t have to make decisions in life,” said Bonham Carter. “When you meet a script and it’s like meeting somebody and falling in love.”

Litvinenko

In this thriller, which is based on real events, David Tenant plays Alexander “Sasha” Litvinenko, a former KGB agent who found himself mysteriously poisoned with polonium – allegedly on Putin’s orders – on British soil.

As he lies dying in hospital a murder investigation is launched, spearheaded by his wife Marina, who was determined to bring justice for her husband’s murder. “It has been a true privilege to meet and portray Marina while making the series,” said Margarita Levieva, who plays Marina on-screen. “Sasha’s murder marked the beginning of Putin is ruthless attacks and anyone who believes was an enemy of the Russian state. While this makes the series more urgent than ever, it is also a timeless story of a group of people who stood up to a seemingly powerful bully.”

Riches

“Riches” tells the story of a Black Anglo-American family who find themselves at war over their father’s cosmetics empire after he has a heart attack. Starring Sarah Niles and Deborah Ayorinde, “Riches” has been described as the U.K.’s answer to “Succession.”

“It was important for me in putting Black Brits on screen for that to celebrate the joy, the fun, the immigrant grit,” said showrunner Abby Ajayi. “And to see Black Brits on screen in a way that I don’t often get to experience them in the U.K. So in writing it – and I was writing away from home at that point as well – it was just really important for me to depict these characters living their lives, failing, messing up, but with a sense of purpose and agency about them.”

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Sony Acquires Queen’s Catalog for $1.2 Billion

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Sony has made a massive acquisition in the music space, acquiring the catalog of legendary rock band Queen for a whopping $1.27 billion, according to a report from Hits and later confirmed by Variety.

According to Variety, the only revenue not covered in the deal is for live performances, which founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor, who still actively tour with singer Adam Lambert, will retain.

The bidding came down to Sony and an undisclosed player who was said to be very close but stopped short at $900 million, allowing Sony to walk away with the catalog.

There is no denying the iconic value of Queen’s catalog, which includes such memorable hits as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Radio Ga Ga,” “39,” “Somebody to Love” and “You’re My Best Friend” as well as the iconic “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” which have been globally integrated with major sports leagues especially during games and during championship celebrations.

Furthermore, the success of  the 2018 biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” demonstrates the potential for the group’s name and likeness rights and could also hint at a potential musical presentation for Broadway or in London in the future.

It is worth noting that the catalog, which has been in play for the last several years, is complicated by the group’s recorded-music rights for the United States and Canada, which were acquired by entertainment juggernaut Disney, for an undisclosed price, at some time during the 2000s following an initial $10 million licensing deal back in 1991, with those rights remaining with Disney  in perpetuity, although certain of the bandmembers’ remaining royalties from them will go to Sony once the deal officially closes.

Queen’s distribution deal is current with Universal, but will go to Sony in all territories outside the United States and Canada when it expires in 2026 or 2027.

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Pixar CCO Pete Docter Excited About Future

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The latest smash hit in theaters is Pixar’s ‘Inside Out 2’ which had a stellar opening in theaters grossing $295 million globally in its first weekend, and the film is currently this year’s highest box office debut.

Naturally, that success has many people excited, specifically Pixar who feel that the numbers, which are similar to pre-2020 numbers, indicate an incredible future is upon them.

“I feel like we’re in a really golden place where, after a lot of turmoil, every project we have is exciting to me for multiple reasons — both from new looks and technology, but more importantly, original stories and storytellers,” Pixar Chief creative officer Pete Docter said, during an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

Docter also spoke about the recently announced ‘Inside Out’ series that will land on Disney+ and stated that the project is already completed and will be arriving to the streaming platform sometime in Spring 2025.

“But in the first film, remember we go to Dream Production to see how Riley’s dreams are made? It semi-explains why they’re so weird. We’ve continued the exploration of the power of dreams and how they affect us in our waking life, as well. So it’s pretty cool,” Docter said.

Docter discussed how the company decides which content lands on Disney+, which was announced just before the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, or gets a premier release in theaters, which seems to be making a comeback in the market.

“But that was really before anyone had an understanding of the economics of how it all works. How much can you spend on a show, and how do you even track what it made? A box office is super easy. Three people came in, I know I can count the money exactly. With streaming, depending on how you divide it up, do you get more money to do something that’s new or that attracts new viewers? It’s very squirrely,” he explained.

With Pixar basking in the limelight of their latest success, the future is exciting for the company and it will be interesting to see how far their new success can go.

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Joe and Anthony Russo’s ‘The Electric State’ Gets Massive Budget

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Netflix is opening up the bank for the latest film from Joe and Anthony Russo.

According to World of Reel, Joe and Anthony Russo’s ‘The Electric State’ movie, which is going to be exclusively for the entertainment streaming platform, Netflix has topped the $300 million budget mark, costing $320 million to produce.

The cast for “The Electric State”, a sci-fi movie based on Simon Stålenhag‘s 2018 illustrated novel, includes Millie Bobbie Brown, Chris Pratt, Ke Huy Quan, Giancarlo Espostito, Anthony Mackie, Stanley Tucci, Jason Alexander, Brian Cox, and Jenny Slate.

According to the official synopsis: ““The Electric State” is a coming-of-age tale that mixes sci-fi and western genres in a retro-futuristic past. Brown plays an orphaned teenager who traverses the American West with her robot friend and an eccentric drifter in search of her younger brother.”

Netflix won the bidding war for the rights to the film back in 2022, and now we will see if the ROI on the investment will reward their massive investment.

 

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