Morning Consult Entertainment: Disney+ First-Time Downloads Increase 79 Percent After ‘Hamilton’ Debut

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  • After the July 3 debut of “Hamilton,” Disney+ was downloaded for the first time by 1 million Apple App Store and Google Play users from July 3-5, a roughly 79 percent weekend-over-weekend increase, according to data from Sensor Tower. A Disney+ spokeswoman said the company doesn’t comment on third-party data, but Sensor Tower’s head of mobile insights said data shows that the musical “has resulted in a greater increase in users for the service than any other original content added to it so far this year.” (Los Angeles Times
  • Walt Disney Co. has signed a deal with Colin Kaepernick to produce scripted and unscripted content that will air on platforms, including ESPN and Hulu, and “explore race, social injustice and the quest for equity,” in addition to highlighting work from “Black and Brown directors and producers.” The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s first project will be a docuseries about the past five years of his life. (The Wall Street Journal
  • Microsoft Corp. is interested in acquiring Warner Bros.’ games division — which includes games based on the Batman and Harry Potter franchises — according to two people familiar with the situation. AT&T Inc. has not decided if it wants to sell the games unit and sources say that no deal is imminent, but one source said that Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., Electronic Arts Inc. and Activision Blizzard Inc. are all considered to be additional suitors. (The Information)

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Variety Streaming Room: An Exclusive Finale Screening And Q&A With Creators & Stars of Homeland 5:00 pm
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New Report: How the Pandemic Has Altered Expectations of Remote Work

COVID-19 is reshaping the future of work more rapidly than employers could have planned for.

As balancing business and safety needs becomes more complex and talent expectations evolve, employee work preferences and habits are also changing. Download the full report to learn what employers can do and expect as the new norm takes place.


How Black Hollywood is rising up to support Black Lives Matter
Laura Zornosa, Los Angeles Times

Tessa Thompson shouted for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to defund the police in front of the Getty House, the official mayoral residence. “605 South Irving,” an organizer yelled.

Who Got PPP Loans? List Shows Hollywood Talent Agencies, Law Firms, AFI And Kanye West’s Clothing Brand Among Recipients Of COVID-19 Relief
Ted Johnson and Dade Hayes, Deadline Hollywood 

Hollywood talent agencies, law firms and production companies were among the recipients of loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, the massive program put in place by Congress to try to carry businesses and their employees through the COVID-19 crisis.

Los Angeles County Lost Over 19,000 Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Jobs Since Pandemic Hit
Brian Welk, The Wrap 

Los Angeles County has lost over 19,000 jobs in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry since February of this year, just before the coronavirus pandemic hit, according to updated figures released by the LA Controller.

Inside Hollywood’s Struggle to Resume Production: Testing, Budgets and Quarantine Rules
Jeremy Fuster, The Wrap Pro 

Just as Hollywood was making moves to resume film and television production, the explosion of COVID-19 infections in large regions of the United States has forced studios and networks to react quickly to rapidly worsening news in the hopes of salvaging plans. Multiple insiders with knowledge of plans to resume filming tell TheWrap that preproduction work that began a few weeks ago on many projects is still moving forward.

Genius Brands buys rights to post-Marvel Stan Lee characters
Anousha Sakoui, Los Angeles Times 

Beverly Hills-based Genius Brands International bought the rights to a group of Stan Lee comic book characters to build a new world in kids’ entertainment. The company, which produces, markets and licenses branded children’s entertainment, says it plans to build a “Stan Lee Universe,” drawn from over 100 original, unexploited properties created by legendary Marvel Comics creators, according to a statement.

Charter Communications Selling $1.5 Billion In New Debt To Pay Down Old & Buy Back Stock
Jill Goldsmith, Deadline Hollywood 

The nation’s second largest cable operator Charter Communications said Monday it’s selling $1.5 billion in debt and could use the fresh cash to repay existing debt and fund share buybacks. It expects to close the offering of senior unsecured notes due in 2031 on July 9.

Halle Berry Apologizes for Considering Upcoming Role As Transgender Man
Halle Kiefer, Vulture 

In an Instagram Live interview this weekend with hairstylist Christin Brown, actress Halle Berry discussed potentially playing a transgender man in an upcoming film project. The conversation received swift backlash from transgender people and allies, both for the film’s hypothetical casting of a cisgender woman as a transman, and for Berry’s misgendering of the character in the interview. 

Reopening Hollywood: NYC Film Commissioner Anne del Castillo Calls August “Safe Bet” For Production Restart
Jill Goldsmith, Deadline Hollywood 

As much of the U.S. is buffeted by a new wave of COVID-19 cases, New York, once the epicenter of the global pandemic, appears to have the situation in hand after opting for a slower reopening than other states. Densely populated New York City’s return to business as usual is the slowest in the state.

Imagine Sets Production and Financing Pact With Warner Music Group
Cynthia Littleton, Variety 

Imagine Entertainment and Warner Music Group have cut a deal to co-produce and co-finance a slate of music-themed projects for a range of film, TV and digital outlets.

A Pandemic First: Actors’ Union Will Allow Two Shows, With Testing
Michael Paulson, The New York Times 

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic erupted, Actors’ Equity is agreeing to allow a few of its members to perform onstage. The union, which represents 51,000 actors and stage managers around the country, said it had given the green light to two summer shows in the Berkshires region of Western Massachusetts: an outdoor production of the musical “Godspell,” and an indoor production of the solo show “Harry Clarke.”


Venice Film Festival to Reduce Official Selection Amid Changes Due to Pandemic
Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter 

Organizers of the Venice Film Festival said Tuesday that this year’s edition will feature a reduced Official Selection and  “present certain changes, which have become necessary as a result of the sanitary protocols imposed by the COVID-19 emergency.”

Covid-19 Derails China’s Push to Be Biggest Movie Market
Erich Schwartzel and Yin Yijun, The Wall Street Journal 

This was supposed to be the year China’s theatrical box office became No. 1 in the world. Instead it is setting a different record: the world’s longest closure of movie theaters. 


The Office’s Stanley is Using Kickstarter to Launch an Unofficial Spin-Off
Christopher Rosen, Vanity Fair

This was supposed to be the year China’s theatrical box office became No. 1 in the world. Instead it is setting a different record: the world’s longest closure of movie theaters.

Andy Samberg Previews New Movie Palm Springs — and Discusses the Future of Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Topher Gauk-Roger, People 

Andy Samberg says the Brooklyn Nine-Nine crew is reevaluating how to produce the show in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the protests against police brutality that followed. “We’re taking a step back, and the writers are all rethinking how we’re going to move forward, as well as the cast,” Samberg, 41, tells PEOPLE.

Technology and New Media

Netflix is missing one big thing. It just added it with its new superstar hire
Jeff Beer, Fast Company 

When you think of the strength of Netflix as a brand, it’s rarely anything to do with the streaming giant’s actual marketing and advertising. It’s the platform’s own content and sheer cultural ubiquity that has helped its “N” logo signify content comfort food among TV and movie junkies.

‘Hamilton’ Rules Disney+ Over July 4, but the VOD Success Story Is Rod Lurie’s ‘The Outpost’
Tom Brueggemann, IndieWire 

A trio of original films, all initially expected to have theatrical releases, found considerable interest at home over the holiday weekend. Broadway juggernaut “Hamilton,” Rod Lurie War movie “The Outpost,” and Jon Stewart’s political comedy “Irresistible” have little in common on the surface, but each served as a July 4th tie-in its way. 

SiriusXM to Buy Stitcher Podcasting Unit From Scripps
Anne Steele, The Wall Street Journal 

Sirius XM Holdings Inc. is near a deal to buy E.W. Scripps Co.’s Stitcher Inc. podcasting unit for around $300 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

Spotify’s podcast deals with Kim Kardashian, Joe Rogan may not pay off
Alexandra Steigrad, New York Post 

Spotify has signed a slew of headline grabbing, multimillion-dollar deals for podcasts from Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian and sportscaster Bill Simmons — but the music-streaming giant won’t likely see a return on its investment, a media analyst predicts.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

Is Anyone Watching Quibi?
Benjamin Wallace, Vulture 

Last year, Scott Gairdner, a comedy writer and director who had worked on Conan and created the animated series Moonbeam City, went to the Hollywood offices of the new streaming platform Quibi for a pitch meeting. He is also the co-creator of a viral Adult Swim video called Live at the Necropolis: Lords of Synth, which Quibi was considering adapting.

Hollywood Finally Has a Plan for Reopening—But Should It?
Drew Schwartz, Vice 

After abruptly shutting down production about four months ago, Hollywood finally has a plan to get back up and running. The unions and guilds that represent film industry workers, in collaboration with the major studios, have released extensive guidelines on how to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 while filming. 

We’re Going to Run Out of TV
Alison Herman, The Ringer 

For the past half-decade, TV has been defined by its surplus. The era we’re in, that’s maybe just ending, has many names: Peak TV; Too Much TV; the Streaming Age. 

‘Hamilton’ on Disney+ Won’t Be Heading for the Oscars — Here’s Why
Anne Thompson, IndieWire 

Yes it’s true: Back in 1966 Sir Laurence Olivier scored a Best Actor nomination (along with three supporting actors) for his blackface “Othello” in a hybrid stage/film production from the National Theatre. And a decade later, James Whitmore was nominated for Best Actor for his role as president Harry S. Truman in “Give ’em Hell, Harry!,” a wobbly video of a stage play that didn’t even make it to New York until 2008.

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