Morning Consult Entertainment: Disney Pushes ‘Mulan’ Release to Aug. 21


Top Stories

  • Walt Disney Co. has once again delayed the release of its live-action version of “Mulan,” moving the film’s premiere from July 24 to Aug. 21 amid a spike in coronavirus cases around the country. Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek previously indicated that the studio would be watching the performance of Warner Bros.’ “Tenet” — which is currently scheduled for an Aug. 12 debut — to gauge consumer appetite for returning to movie theaters. (The Verge
  • Cinemark Holdings Inc. will not show Focus Features’ “Irresistible” at its five open locations, because the new film from Jon Stewart is currently available on video on-demand services and therefore is not observing the traditional theatrical release window. Chief Executive Mark Zoradi said in the company’s first-quarter earnings call that the chain would be “extremely careful” with changes to the theatrical window, although it is screening Universal Pictures titles — such as “The Hunt” and “The Invisible Man” — that were available to rent on-demand earlier this year. (Bloomberg
  • Creative Artists Agency LLC and New Enterprise Associates have launched Connect Ventures, an investment partnership aimed at supporting new businesses focused on commerce, content and media in the post-COVID-19 landscape. The partnership is launching with $100 million and has plans to invest up to $400 million. (Los Angeles Times)

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Events Calendar (All Times Local)

06/29/2020
2020 Women in Animation Virtual Summit
Ad Age Roundtable: Debating the upfront 2:30 pm
Unfinished Work: Music, Identity and Activism 4:00 pm
Variety Streaming Room: An Exclusive Composer Roundtable 8:00 pm
06/30/2020
2020 Women in Animation Virtual Summit
MediaPost: TV & Video Insider Summit
How to Produce a Killer Virtual Event 12:00 pm
Comedy, Coping & Change: Finding Hope in Humor – Virtual Event presented by TOPIC 4:30 pm
Variety Streaming Room: An Exclusive Q&A Interview And Screening Of Full Frontal With Samantha Bee 8:00 pm
07/01/2020
MediaPost: TV & Video Insider Summit
Voiceover! Alive & Well! 7:00 pm
Variety Streaming Room: An Exclusive Screening and Q&A With The Cast And Creators Of Defending Jacob 8:00 pm
07/02/2020
Variety Streaming Room: An Exclusive Q&A And Screening With The Stars / Creators of Love Life 8:00 pm
07/03/2020
Variety Streaming Room: An Exclusive Screening And Q&A With The Stars and Creators of Legendary 8:00 pm
View full calendar

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General

Hollywood Fears Writers Strike Is Brewing as Contract Talks Go Down to Wire
Dave McNary, Variety 

Some things never change. Amid Hollywood’s drastically altered landscape, one of the few constants has turned out to be this: the Writers Guild of America is likely going down to the wire at the negotiating table over a new contract.

Pharrell Williams, Kenya Barris, Ellen DeGeneres Launch Juneteenth Pledge, Rally Corporate America
Lacey Rose, The Hollywood Reporter 

On the heels of nationwide racial justice protests, four familiar faces have banded together to ensure history is not forgotten. Pharrell Williams, Ellen DeGeneres, Kenya Barris and CNN’s Van Jones have launched what they are billing The Juneteenth Pledge to ensure Juneteenth—the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of slavery’s ending in the U.S—becomes a paid holiday in the U.S.

Daytime Emmys 2020: ‘Jeopardy,’ ‘The View,’ ‘Ellen,’ Alex Trebek, ‘Young and the Restless’ Among Top Winners
Michael Schneider, Variety 

The 47th Daytime Emmy Awards got underway on Friday night, after a particularly unusual path due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s Daytime Emmys returned to TV for the first time in five years, and to broadcast TV (specifically, CBS) for the first time since 2011.

Chris Brown, Roddy Ricch and Beyoncé Win Multiple BET Awards 2020: Complete Winners List
Rosemary Rossi, The Wrap 

Chris Brown and Roddy Ricch took home two trophies at Sunday’s BET Awards, while Beyoncé Knowles won the BET HER Award (along with daughter Blue Ivy) as well as the Humanitarian Award.

Hollywood’s Male #MeToo Stigma and the Fear of Coming Forward: “It’s Looked Upon as a Weakness”
Rebecca Keegan, The Hollywood Reporter 

Last fall, Johnathon Schaech was running out of options. After making a living as an actor for 30 years — 1996’s That Thing You Do! was his breakout — he was in danger of losing his SAG health insurance from lack of work, and he and his wife were trying to have a baby.

Universal Music and USC Annenberg Expand Partnership to Address Diversity
Jem Aswad, Variety 

It has become abundantly clear over the past few years — not to mention the past few decades — that African-Americans and other people of color are not adequately represented in decision-making roles in the music business. In an effort to address the renewed and persistent calls for equity across industries, the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and Universal Music Group are extending their partnership to explore ways to create change in the music industry.

Film

What to Expect When Movie Theaters Reopen This Summer
Chris Lee, Vulture 

Until a couple of weeks ago, director Christopher Nolan’s mystery-wrapped-in-an-enigma thriller Tenet faced a daunting responsibility. Refusing to budge from its long set July 17 release date, the $200 million Warner Bros. title was scheduled to arrive as the first studio tentpole hitting multiplexes after a four-month theatrical shutdown caused by coronavirus anti-gathering restrictions.

Bond Bind: Indie Film Ecosystem At Risk With No COVID Insurance, And Solutions Far Off
Jill Goldsmith, Deadline Hollywood 

A restart for film and television is bearing down but looming uncertainty around COVID-19 insurance has the business on edge. Pandemic insurance disappeared in March.

As Big Deals Make the Rounds at the Cannes Market, a Pandemic Era of Dealmaking Takes Shape
Chris Lindahl, IndieWire 

When this year’s Cannes market migrated online, some worried that it might have a negative impact on the business. As it turns out, it’s a lot easier to close international pre-sales when jumping from meeting to meeting means logging into various Zoom rooms, rather than squeezing through throngs of people on the Croisette. 

Film Festivals Group Starts Campaign for Geo-Blocking By Online Festivals
Leo Barraclough, Variety 

A group of 18 leading film festivals has kick-started a campaign to persuade film festivals running online editions to use geoblocking technology to protect the commercial potential of the films, and the ability of other festivals to stage local premieres of the films.

Television

The Office Edits Out Blackface Scene, Community Pulls Entire Episode
Dave Nemetz, TVLine 

The Office and Community are the latest sitcoms to edit their past episodes for depictions of blackface. The Office has removed a scene featuring a character in blackface from a Season 9 episode, but has left the rest of the episode intact.

‘The Simpsons’ to Recast Characters of Color, ‘Family Guy’ Actor Stops Voicing Black Role
Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter 

In a big shift, the producers of The Simpsons say they’ll no longer use white actors to play characters of color on the long-running animated series. Additionally, one of the principal voice actors on Family Guy says he’ll stop playing the show’s main Black character.

The Emmys Will Go On, But What Will the Show Look Like?
Michael O’Connell, The Hollywood Reporter 

“I don’t know where we will do this or how we will do this or even why we are doing this, but we are doing it and I am hosting it.” A snarky comment from talent accompanying a press release rarely draws attention, but Jimmy Kimmel’s earnest-yet-bemused confusion over the recent news that he will host and exec produce ABC’s Sept. 20 Primetime Emmys telecast has inspired speculation. 

‘The Bachelorette’ Set to Resume Production
Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety 

“The Bachelorette” is heading back into production, Variety has learned exclusively. While no exact start date set, the ABC reality dating show will be revving up imminently — with heavy-duty safety precautions placed on the production, due to concerns surrounding coronavirus.

From ’30 Rock’ to ‘Community,’ Who Decides What Old TV Episodes Are Too Insensitive to Keep in Circulation?
Tony Maglio and Tim Baysinger, The Wrap Pro

On Friday, “The Office” proved how far some older shows will go to wipe their slate clean of racially insensitive material, by re-editing one of its episodes to remove a scene featuring a character in blackface. That came the same week that other sitcoms — including “Community” “Scrubs” and “30 Rock” — all had episodes pulled that included characters in blackface.

Cable News Networks to Team Up on Convention Coverage, Limiting Staff Exposure
Benjamin Mullin, The Wall Street Journal 

Two years ago, CNN staffers descended on Charlotte, N.C., to start planning coverage of the 2020 Republican convention, scouting hotels and broadcast sites and even picking out a local watering hole where the network would host political power players.

Technology and New Media

‘Golden Girls’ Episode With Blackface Scene Removed From Hulu
Ellise Shafer, Variety 

Hulu has removed an episode of “The Golden Girls” containing a scene with characters in blackface. “Mixed Blessings,” episode 23 in season 3 of the sitcom, aired in 1988.

Are Streamers Muzzling Controversial Documentaries?
Tatiana Siegel, The Hollywood Reporter 

On May 25, YouTube pulled the Michael Moore-produced environmental documentary Planet of the Humans, a few weeks after the provocateur launched the film for free on his highly trafficked YouTube channel. The tech giant cited a copyright infringement claim made by photographer Toby Smith over a four-second clip used in the controversial doc, which takes on some of the environmental movement’s most beloved figures, including Al Gore and Bill McKibben, and explores big money’s influence on sustainability efforts. 

How Netflix Learned to Stop Worrying and Love YouTube
Lucas Shaw, Bloomberg 

When Netflix released a 27-minute video of Dave Chappelle earlier this month, the most surprising part of his performance was not what he said but where he said it. Chappelle’s meditation on racism, police brutality and celebrity was available for free on YouTube.

‘The Princess Bride’ Recreation Starring Joe Jonas, Sophie Turner, Tiffany Haddish and More to Air on Quibi
Ellise Shafer, Variety 

Beloved 1987 film “The Princess Bride” is getting a DIY makeover from some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Though the project is helmed by “Juno” director Jason Reitman, who has previously staged live readings of the film’s script, the remake was shot entirely at-home by each cast member using their phones.

How Should Marketers Approach Gaming?
Andrew Blustein, Adweek 

Gaming is surging as people stay at home during the pandemic, but marketers face distinct challenges of activating in an environment that’s unlike traditional media. The IAB concluded its weeklong virtual NewFronts presentation today with a series of discussions on the rise of gaming and esports, and how marketers are approaching the space.

An inside look at the agents and managers competing to sign TikTok’s biggest stars
Dan Whateley and Amanda Perelli, Business Insider 

As TikTok stars build large and loyal followings on the short-form video app, a slew of talent managers and agents from both upstart companies and legacy Hollywood talent firms are racing to sign them as clients. The opportunity is clear for industry insiders. 

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

An Early HBO Max Report Card
Josef Adalian, Vulture

It’s been a month since AT&T-owned WarnerMedia launched HBO Max, and while the literal rollout went smoothly — the app works fine and there have been no big tech issues — the media narrative around the new streaming platform has been less than ideal. It’s hardly a disaster: Originals such as Love Life and Legendary, while not exactly dominating the pop-culture conversation, have gotten solid receptions from critics, and the Max user interface improves nicely on the already-solid HBO Now template on which it was built.

Beyond Blackface: Can Hollywood’s Reckoning on Race Lead to Substantive Change?
Trey Williams, The Wrap Pro

The racial reckoning spreading across America has driven Hollywood to reexamine longstanding storylines and symbols rooted in racist ideology as the entertainment industry adjusts to a radically altered cultural landscape. In the last two weeks, celebrities and studios have rushed to recast Black characters with nonwhite actors, remove offensive TV episodes featuring blackface and reimagine at least one popular theme park ride.

Starz CEO Jeffrey Hirsch on programming in a digital world
Eric Peckham, TechCrunch 

In the war between subscription video on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, Starz has been growing on the sidelines and fighting to be the preferred add-on for consumers on top of their primary subscription. That journey has required the longtime premium cable TV network to rethink its target audience, content strategy and pricing.

Jon Stewart’s legacy still looms large in latenight, five years later
Brian Lowry, CNN 

Jon Stewart walked away from “The Daily Show” almost five years ago, and a lot of fans still miss seeing him four nights a week. Assessing his legacy, however, goes beyond his shift into directing movies, including what he has accomplished off screen, and the roster of successors who cut their teeth on his show.

If “Film Is a Fling, TV Is Like a Marriage”: TV Directors on Everything From the Social Justice Movement to “Difficult” Actors
Rebecca Ford, The Hollywood Reporter 

Alex Garland, the Ex Machina director and creator of FX/Hulu’s sci-fi thriller Devs, is adjusting the blinds in his London office, trying to get the light behind him to look just right for his video interview. “You’re a little dark on the left,” chimes in Westworld co-showrunner Jonathan “Jonah” Nolan, who is watching Garland on a computer screen from his Los Angeles home on this mid-June afternoon and can’t help directing the shot. 

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