What's news: Cineplex follows AMC and Cineworld with Universal deal, Coming 2 America gets a release date on Amazon, Wonder Woman 1984 going wide in China, Pink Panther getting rebooted, Shawn Levy inks a nine-figure Netflix deal, Kenya Barris producing a sci-fi action project for Paramount, more films flee 2020, HBO Max picks up DMZ, 50 Cent and Mary J. Blige are producing an ABC comedy. Plus: Addison Rae talks going from TikTok to the big screen, and how Hollywood assistants are adjusting to working from home. --Alex Weprin
➤Cineplex has followed AMC and Cineworld in signing a window-smashing deal with Universal. The two companies on Friday said they have struck a multiyear agreement that sets a 17-day exclusive theatrical window for small and midrange titles and a 31-day window for larger event pics (i.e., any film opening to $50 million or more domestically). After that, Universal is free to offer its movies on PVOD. To date, the emerging industry standard is $19.99 for a 48-hour rental.
--The support of Canada's largest movie chain gives Universal even more leverage in its bid to bring movies to the home earlier than ever in North America as the film industry struggles to navigate the COVID-19 crisis. The story.
➤Wonder Woman 1984 will get the full theatrical treatment in China. China is getting the Warner Bros. tentpole in cinemas nationwide one full week before the U.S., where COVID-19 forced the studio to shift its emphasis to an HBO Max streaming release.
--Wonder Woman 1984 will be the first new Hollywood tentpole to hit Chinese cinemas since Disney's Mulan on Sept. 11. With China already having overtaken North America as the world's biggest box office territory of 2020, the country is all but certain to be Wonder Woman 1984's most important theatrical market. The first Wonder Woman earned $90.5 million in China in 2017. The story.
+Analyzing HBO Max's Wonder Woman play. "This is an unprecedented move for a major Hollywood media company, especially for a $200 million film, and a grand experiment that could have long-lasting implications if successful," Credit Suisse analyst Douglas Mitchelson wrote in a report. "Up to now, speculation had been that Wonder Woman 1984 would either be delayed or be released in theaters and then shift over to HBO Max after a short exclusivity period." The analyst reactions.
'Pink Panther' Rebooted
➤MGM's Pink Panther is getting ready to purr once again. Jeff Fowler, the director of Sonic the Hedgehog, and Chris Bremner, who co-wrote Bad Boys for Life, are teaming up for a brand new Pink Panther feature project. Rideback, the banner run by Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich and that was behind Aladdin and The Two Popes, are producing. Also producing are Lawrence Mirisch and Julie Andrews, the screen icon who was married to Blake Edwards, the latter who co-wrote and directed the 1963 original as well as all of the Panther movie outings in the 20th century. The story.
➤Coming 2 America will set sail on Amazon Prime on March 5, 2021, both in the U.S. and more than 240 countries worldwide. Amazon Studios revealed the release date early Friday when officially announcing it has closed a deal with Paramount Pictures acquiring worldwide rights to the comedy, which sees the return of Eddie Murphy in the iconic role of Prince Akeem. It had initially been slated for a December release. More.
In other film news...
+Florida Georgia Line and Monarch Media are partnering for an original country movie musical that will see the Grammy-nominated duo, Tyler Hubbard and Brian “BK” Kelley, create both original music and reimagine country classics. Plot details for the untitled feature are being kept under wraps, but it is described as a "classic movie musical with contemporary sensibilities." More.
+Paramount Players has picked up One Night in Compton, a pitch package that sees Kenya Barris producing a sci-fi action project. Rohan Blair-Mangat, who helmed the Quibi series Centerpiece with Maurice Harris, is attached to make his feature directorial debut with Compton which will be written by Stanley Kalu. The two will share a story by credit. The story.
+Glenn Close is the latest to join Apple drama Swan Song. The actress joins a cast that already includes Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris and Awkwafina. More.
+The true story of the first Mexican American astronaut is getting the feature treatment from Netflix and filmmaker Alejandra Márquez Abella. Abella is in final negotiations to direct A Million Miles Away, based on the autobiography Reaching For The Stars by space shuttle astronaut Jose M. Hernandez. More.
+Neil Marshall and Charlotte Kirk's The Reckoning has a buyer. The film, a horror movie that takes places during witch hunts in 17th century England and stars Charlotte Kirk, has sold to RLJ Entertainment and Shudder for a 2021 release. The movie, financed by Arcana Studio and BondIt Media Capital, will be released first by RLJ Entertainment, before segueing to the Shudder streaming platform. More.
+The distribution for the Taron Egerton led Tetris movie has fallen into place. Apple has picked up the rights to the feature from Stan & Ollie director Jon S. Baird, which will be produced by Matthew Vaughn’s Marv. The story.
+From TikTok to the big screen: Addison Rae prepares for debut movie role. The social media personality with 69 million followers has a starring role in Miramax's gender-flipped reboot of '90s teen rom-com She's All That, Natalie Jarvey reports.
--"What's most important is having the right person in the role," says Munika Lay, vice president of film at Miramax, noting that Rae's social media presence (including 31.3 million Instagram followers) "signaled that she has the ability to speak to her generation." The story.
A New Netflix Mega-Deal
➤Shawn Levy inks sprawling new nine-figure overall deal With Netflix. The prolific producer's 21 Laps Entertainment banner has moved his film deal to the streamer, where he has had a longtime TV pact and produced hits including Stranger Things and, more recently, Dash & Lily, Borys Kit and Lesley Goldberg report.
--The combined film and TV pact should be considered a reward for the hits Levy's company has delivered to the streamer and a sign that Netflix wants film and TV programming with broad appeal. This is Levy's third TV deal with Netflix. His last pact with the streamer had another year on it. Thursday's new deal adds four years to that side of the pact as Levy will now be based at Netflix through 2025. The story.
+HBO Max has picked up the DC Comics adaptations DMZ, from executive producer Ava DuVernay, as a limited series. The four-part series, created by Westworld veteran Roberto Patino, stars Rosario Dawson and Benjamin Bratt. Patino will serve as showrunner on the Warner Bros. TV series and executive produce with DuVernay, who directed the pilot episode. Production on the show, based on the comic by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli, is set for next year. The story.
In other TV news...
+Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and Mary J. Blige are teaming to produce a comedy in the works at ABC. The two music stars — who also collaborate on Starz's Power Book II: Ghost — are behind Family Affair, about a musician who's suddenly put into a parental role. The network has given a put pilot commitment to the single-camera show from ABC Signature and writers Devon and Ranada Shepard. The story.
+A Netflix show about the inner workings of government from Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground Productions has found its host. Adam Ruins Everything star Adam Conover will front The G Word, which will blend sketch comedy and documentary (a la his former TruTV series) to explore and explain the inner workings of the federal government and some of the civil servants who make it run. More.
+The migration from linear TV to streaming continues. Coyote, the drama series starring Michael Chiklis, is moving from Paramount Network to CBS All Access. The six-episode drama from Sony Pictures Television will debut on the ViacomCBS-backed streamer on Jan. 7. The story.
+ABC is rounding out its midseason schedule. The network has set premiere dates for two returning scripted shows, The Rookie and Mixed-ish, and first-year comedy Call Your Mother, starring Kyra Sedgwick. ABC will also move Black-ish to Tuesday nights in late January, where it will pair with spinoff Mixed-ish. More.
+Several Indigenous organizations have penned an open letter to ABC asking the network to "enter into a dialogue" about representing the outsized number of Native American and Indigenous women who go missing and are murdered each year in its new series focused on abductions in Montana, Big Sky. More.
+Grey's Anatomy boss explains the decision to give Meredith Covid. "Meredith has a real fight ahead of her. And ... she has that beach. Darkness and light. It’s a powerful season," showrunner Krista Vernoff tells THR. More.
➤Hollywood assistants adjust to working from home: "I feel like I have to be on call every minute of the day." The industry's hard-working assistants navigate the highs and lows of servicing their bosses remotely, which often requires frequent FedEx runs, tech troubleshooting and plenty of virtual drinks, Emily Hilton reports. The story.
➤House committee interrogates pandemic risk insurance proposals as industry groups urge swift action. During a hearing on Thursday, members of Congress generally thanked Rep. Carolyn Maloney for bringing the issue forward with The Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020, while expressing skepticism about the current state of that proposal and others. The story.
➤Two titans of the digital publishing space will soon merge, as BuzzFeed is acquiring HuffPost as part of a larger deal with Verizon Media. The deal has multiple pieces, with Verizon acquiring a minority equity stake in BuzzFeed, and the digital publisher and telecom giant partnering on advertising and content. HuffPost will join BuzzFeed, BuzzFeed News and Tasty in the publisher's stable of digital media brands. The details.
+Fuse Media has new ownership. The cable TV and OTT video channel, which targets a young Latino and multicultural audience, has sold a majority stake to its CEO Miguel "Mike" Roggero and his management group. More.
➤Ashton Kutcher looks to raise fresh cash. Kutcher's venture capital firm, Sound Ventures, for which he serves as a general partner, told the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday that it plans to raise $150 million for its third venture fund, Sound Ventures III L.P. Kutcher's fund has invested in companies like fintech startup Lemonade, and mobility startup Bird.
➤Streaming ratings: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm ranks eighth in Nielsen's streaming rankings for the week of Oct. 19. The movie, released Oct. 23 on Amazon's Prime Video platform, racked up 570 million minutes of viewing in the United States — the equivalent of about 5.9 million plays of the 96-minute film. The numbers.
➤Film review: David Rooney reviews Hulu's Happiest Season, writing that "the movie's conventional nature turns out to be a virtue, staking a queer claim on an American Christmas tradition in which LGBTQ characters have long been relegated to the sidelines." The review.
➤TV review: Daniel Fienberg reviews the Hulu animated reboot Animaniacs, writing that the show "is just the sort of minor disappointment that makes you go, 'I know I used to enjoy this show … Heh, that was kinda funny … Now why aren't I laughing more?'" The review.
➤TV's Top 5 podcast: During this week's podcast, hosts Daniel Fienberg and Lesley Goldberg welcome Selena: The Series showrunner Moises Zamora and also discuss HBO Max's efforts to grow its subscriber base, Conan's new gig and more. Listen.
Revolving door:Former CAA motion picture agent David Neumannhas launched Newmation, a management company for film and TV animation creators... Paul McGuire is the latest longtime exec to leave Warner Bros. Television. The senior vp worldwide corporate communications has departed the studio after a lengthy run at WarnerMedia... Discovery Inc. communications exec Catherine Frymark is joining Mattel as its head of corporate communications... Twitch co-founder Kevin Linis departing after 13 years at the company...
In other news...
--CNN Films has picked up the North American linear TV rights to President in Waiting, a feature documentary from Jeffrey Roth where now President-elect Joe Biden discusses his years as vice president under President Barack Obama.
--Greenwich Entertainment has picked up the North American rights to Patrick Trefz’s Man in the Field: The Life and Art of Jim Denevan, a feature documentary about a multimedia artist best known for staging elaborate outdoor meals.
--Doc McStuffins is returning to Disney Junior in a new TV special aimed at teaching kids about healthy habits. The Doc Is In will feature the character interacting with real kids, families and medical professionals.
--The Hollywood Professional Association announced the winners of its 15th annual HPA Awards recognizing postproduction achievements in color grading, editing, sound and visual effects on Thursday during a virtual presentation.
--Bobby Brown Jr., the son of singer Bobby Brown, was found dead at his Los Angeles home Wednesday, according to authorities. He was 28.
What else we're reading...
--"Are streamed plays theater or TV? Unions settle a dispute" [NY Times]
--"Even as COVID-19 surges, Triller planned a red carpet party in a Hollywood Hills mansion" [LA Times]
--"Star Wars novelist says Disney won’t pay him royalties it owes him" [The Verge]
--"Justice Department files complaint against Tiger King LLC for 'inhumane treatment' of animals" [The Hill]
Today's birthdays: Joe Biden, 78, Bo Derek, 64, Estelle Parsons, 93, Joe Walsh, 73, Future, 37.