Posts tagged with "Variety"

‘No Time to Die’ opens to $6.3 million in previews–best ever for a Bond movie

October 11, 2021

Audiences are showing up in force to send British actor Daniel Craig off in style, Variety reports.

MGM’s “No Time to Die”—which marks the actor’s last stint as James Bond and his fifth movie in the series—opened to $6.3 million in previews on Thursday, October 7—the best-ever take for a Bond film. The previous record for an 007 opening night was “Spectre’s” $5.3 million in 2015, and before that “Skyfall” made $4.6 million from advance showings.

Indeed, according to Variety, Craig’s fifth and final Bond film is on pace to earn between $60 million to $70 million in its opening weekend, but projections are difficult to make because of the COVID of things, which could depress turnout. “No Time to Die” needs to make bank. All those exotic locales and action set pieces don’t come cheap, after all. The film carries a massive $250 million budget and cost more than $100 million to market and promote.

The spy thriller already has gotten off to a fast start internationally. It earned $121 million last weekend from its first 54 international markets, which includes the U.K., Brazil, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Spain.

Reviewers have mostly embraced the film, giving Craig’s farewell to the role an 82% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman was one of those fans—writing in his review, “‘No Time to Die’ is a terrific movie: an up-to-the-minute, down-to-the-wire James Bond thriller with a satisfying neoclassical edge.”

Director Cary Joji Fukunaga (“True Detective”) is getting most of the credit for injecting that edge. The cast includes Bond veterans Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Christoph Waltz, who are joined by Ana de Armas and Lashana Lynch, as two new agents; and Rami Malek as the main antagonist.

Research contact: @Variety

Angelina Jolie sells stake in French wine estate, capping fight with Brad Pitt over Miraval

October 7, 2021

Actress Angelina Jolie has sold her stake in a French château and winery business to a third party—capping a yearslong fight in which she and ex-husband Brad Pitt battled over the future of their assets, reports The Wall Steet Journal.

The couple bought the Château Miraval estate in southern France in 2008, and they were married there in 2014. While the two have since divorced; they both retained equal ownership of the estate and the wine brand Miravalknown for its rosé.

Jolie in July sought to lift temporary restraining orders put in place during the couple’s divorce proceedings, which would allow her to sell her half of the estate. A declaration filed by one of her lawyers in Superior Court of Los Angeles County said she wanted to remove herself from being a “disregarded business partner with her ex-husband,” according to court documents.

Tenute del Mondo, the third party that acquired Jolie’s 50% stake, is a wine division and subsidiary of Luxembourg-based Stoli Group. It co-owns wines brands, including Luce and Masseto, with the Frescobaldi family.

Terms of the deal, announced on Tuesday, October 5, weren’t disclosed. A legal representative for Jolie didn’t respond to a request for comment. A representative for Pitt didn’t have an immediate comment.

Pitt will keep his stake in the estate, according to a spokesperson for Stoli Group.

Research contact: @WSJ

Mike Richards is frontrunner to become permanent host of ‘Jeopardy!’

August 11, 2021

Answer: Who is “Jeopardy!” Executive Producer Mike Richards? According to an exclusive report by Variety, Richards—who guest-hosted the venerable quiz show for two weeks in February and March of this year— is in advanced negotiations with Sony Pictures Television to become permanent host.

If and when the deal is done, Richards would take the reins of the syndicated powerhouse that was fronted by Alex Trebek for 36 years.

After Trebek’s death at the age of 80 in November 2020, Sony initiated a series of guest hosts, some of whom were hoping to land the permanent slot. Richards, who joined the show just last year as executive producer, impressed Sony Pictures brass with his command of the fast-paced game and easy on-air manner.

A Sony Pictures spokesman said discussions were ongoing with several potential candidates. He would not comment specifically on Richards’ status. A source close to the situation cautioned that there’s no certainty that the sides will close a deal and that other candidates remain in the mix, although Richards is clearly the front-runner.

Richards previously hosted the series “Divided” and “The Pyramid” for Sony Pictures’ Game Show Network (GSN) cabler.

Earlier in his career, Richards served as host of reality shows “High School Reunion” on The WB network and “Beauty and the Geek” for The CW. He joined “The Price Is Right” in 2008 as a co-executive producer. The following year he became executive producer and also helped sell the revival of “Let’s Make a Deal” to CBS, which he also executive produced.

Indeed, Variety notes, by the time he took the reins of “Jeopardy,” Richards had produced more than 4,000 hours of game shows.

Richards came to Sony as executive producer of the celebrity edition of the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” specials for ABC.

Other guest hosts that have fronted the show since the final Trebek episodes aired in January include Mayim Bialik, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Bill Whitaker, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Ken Jennings, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, LeVar Burton, Savannah Guthrie, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Aaron Rodgers, and former contestant Buzzy Cohen.

Former contestant Jennings was long seen as the front-runner to succeed Trebek. Jennings holds the record for the most consecutive “Jeopardy” wins with his 74-game streak from 2004. He also ranks as the show’s highest-grossing winner with $2.52 million in regular-play winnings (which doesn’t include later tournaments).

“Jeopardy!” is one of the few remaining powerhouse syndicated series that ranks as television institution, in large part thanks to the enduring popularity of Trebek. The competition to replace Trebek was fierce. It’s understood that Bialik and Cohen were among the standouts who also have been strongly considered for the permanent job.

Research contact: @Variety

Editor’s note: CNBC reported on August 11 that Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik have been named as the new hosts of “Jeopardy!,” Sony revealed Wednesday. Richards, an American television producer, will host the long-running daily syndicated program while Bialik will host primetime and spinoff series. 

American Song Contest is open for submissions

July 7, 2021

NBC has announced that submissions for the new musical series, American Song Contest ,are now being accepted, Variety reports.

Based on the  Eurovision Song Contest—an annual international original songwriting competition sponsored by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU)–the series will feature a series of live music performances by U.S. contestants who are in competition to win the country’s vote for best original song.

All 50 states, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C., each will be repped by a solo artist, duo, band, or DJ.

The “Eurovision Song Contest” has been held annually since 1956 and has featured contestants from 52 different countries. The American version of the competition will lead to the semi-finals and, subsequently, to the primetime March Madness-style grand finale

American Song Contest is looking for artists, signed or independent, who can own the stage and captivate an audience with their original music (cover or tribute bands are not allowed to participate). As the submission process to represent each state or territory is underway, the showrunners welcome all varieties of music—including country, dance/electronic, pop, rap, R&B, and rock.

Applicants must be 16 or older, and groups can comprise up to six members.

The first-place winner will receive:

  • $10,000 (Provided by LiveXLive),
  • Co-Publishing contract with LiveXLive Music Publishing, a division of LiveXLive Media,
  • A two–page feature spread in the American Songwriter March/April 2022 issue,
  • Career consultation with a reputable record label, and
  • Lifetime American Songwriter membership.

Winners will retain ownership of their songs—and can enter more than one song, for a price: $25 for 1 entry, $50 for 2 entries, $67.50 for 3 entries, $85 for 4 entries, or $100 for 5 entries.

Netflix recently released the musical-comedy “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” which starred Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as two Icelandic singers participating in the renowned music celebration.

The indie studio, AdditPropagate Content, will create The American Song Contest Academy, a jury that will consist of artists and music industry notables that will represent all genres and backgrounds. The event is scheduled to debut sometime in 2022.

The deadline for entry is December 1, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. (CT).

Research contact: @Variety

Now, you can buy clothes from Netflix’s ‘Halston,’ including a stunning tie-dye caftan

June 21, 2021

Thanks to the Netflix series Halston,” which follows the tumultuous career of American fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick (known mononymously as Halston), millions of people are re-familiarizing themselves with the iconic brand, Variety reports.

And not just via the Ryan Murphy-produced drama, but with ten-piece capsule collection the American fashion brand just released in partnership with Netflix.

The evening wear collection is inspired by the high-fashion costumes in the show, including the stunning tie-dye caftan that makes an appearance in the first episode. Each dress is an archival piece worn by famous Halstonettes like Liza Minnelli, and are available for pre-order now on the Halston website.

According to Variety,. the designer’s signature chiffon caftan has a cinematic moment in the first episode when Ewan McGregor’s Halston effortlessly wraps the blue fabric around the fashion model-turned-Tiffany’s designer Elsa Peretti’s body to create a stunning silhouette—in the way only a true visionary can.

Now, that same silk dress is reimagined in the new capsule collection, named after the original Halstonette.

Research contact: @Variety

Stray dog is gifted with plush toy unicorn after repeatedly trying to steal it from Dollar General store

April 5, 2021

A stray dog in North Carolina has been gifted with the unicorn plush toy that he tried to steal multiple times from a Dollar General store, Sunny Skyz reports.

According to Duplin County Animal Services, a stray dog named Sisu snuck into the store repeatedly when the automatic doors opened and made a beeline straight for the purple stuffed toy.

“He went straight for the unicorn, the same one every time,” Joe Newburn, the department head at the shelter, told Sunny Skyz. “He actually had to go through the whole store to get to that unicorn. It was in the Easter section he went to that same unicorn and kept pulling it out, and finally, he had done it so much the store called us,” Newburn explains of how Sisu came under the shelter’s care.

Samantha Lane, the officer who responded to the Dollar General store’s call, was so taken with Sisu’s devotion to the unicorn that she bought the $10 toy for the dog.

According to Newburn, the canine was happy to head off with Lane once he had his unicorn. “The only thing we can think is that he came from a home where he had a similar stuffed animal or kids in the home did,” Newburn said.

Indeed, since Lane bought Sisu—who was named by shelter workers after the dragon in Disney’s new film, Raya and the Last Dragon — his unicorn, the dog hasn’t let the toy out of his sight, People magazine reports..

When the unicorn gets dirty, Sisu won’t lie on it, so the shelter staff removes the toy for washing and quickly returns it. “Every time you put that unicorn with him when he’s laying on it, he looks happy; he’s at peace with that purple unicorn, and it’s felt good. It’s been very uplifting to my staff. It’s a tough job, but it’s a rewarding job, and I see smiles on my staff’s faces now,” Newburn adds.

Sisu is considered a stray at the shelter because no one has come forward to claim him. He is currently available for adoption and is described as a 1-year-old male who is very obedient with people.

Research contact: @SunnySkyz

BTS’s K-Pop Agency buys Bieber manager’s firm for $1B

April 5, 2021

The Korean company that launched K-pop sensation BTS is paying $1.05 billion for a star-studded U.S. media group that has advanced the careers of global songsters Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, reports Bloomberg.

Big Hit Entertainment, which is changing its name to HYBE, is investing ₩1.07 trillion (US$950 million) into its U.S. unit to acquire founder and producer Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings . Big Hit will pay a total of $1.05 billion to shareholders and bondholders to purchase Ithaca, according to a regulatory filing in Seoul on April 2.

The acquisition of Ithaca would be the first major foray into the U.S. market for Big Hit Entertainment, Bloomberg notes. Braun, currently Ithaca’s CEO, will join the board of HYBE, the companies said in a statement. As part of the transaction, Carlyle Group will sell its significant minority stake in Ithaca, which it has held since 2017.

Braun hailed HYBE’s systems and said the tie-up would create “exponential” opportunities for new and existing Ithaca artists. HYBE Chairman and CEO Bang Si-Hyuk called the deal an “inevitable joining.”

According to Variety, in aligning the two entities, the newly combined HYBE is poised to be among the biggest entertainment companies with a music focus operating on a global scale. BTS and Bieber, alone, bring dedicated fanbases numbering in the hundreds of millions, while Ariana Grande recently surpassed 90 billion streams consumed worldwide, the most ever by a female.

Big Hit helped popularize K-pop, with BTS’s “Dynamite” topping the Billboard Hot 100 in 2020. BTS was the first Asian act to be No. 1 on the U.S. music chart since Kyu Sakamoto held the No. 1 spot for three weeks in 1963.

Research contact: @Bloomberg

Taylor Swift to re-record songs after music catalog is sold to private equity fund for $300M

November 18, 2020

Singer and songwriter Taylor Swift has confirmed a November 16 report that her music catalogue has been sold to a private equity group without her knowledge or consent—or the second time in two years—dashing her hopes of regaining control over her masters after they were controversially acquired by music mogul Scooter Braun last year.

At the time, Swift described Braun’s acquisition of her catalog as her “worst case scenario,” Forbes reports.

Variety, which first reported the story, say the deal is believed to be worth more than $300 million, with Swift confirming that Shamrock Holdings, an investment vehicle for certain members of the Roy E. Disney family, had “bought 100% of my music, videos, and album art” from Braun.

In  statement shared to Twitter and Instagram on Monday, Swift said she had initially welcomed the prospect of working with Shamrock, before discovering that the agreement meant that Braun and his company, Ithaca Holdings, which acquired her catalog last year would “continue to receive many years of future financial reward” from her master recordings, something she “cannot currently entertain.”

“We made this investment because we believe in the immense value and opportunity that comes with her work. We fully respect and support her decision and, while we hoped to formally partner, we also knew this was a possible outcome that we considered,” Shamrock said in a statement. The purchase is the firm’s first major investment in a music catalog.

Swift also shared a letter she wrote to Shamrock Holdings, in which she said she has already begun re-recording her old music—something she acknowledges will “diminish the value” of Shamrock’s investment, and a move she announced she announced last August.

Photo source: @Forbes

They ‘were on a break,’ but Friends reunion episode will film in March

November 16, 2020

After months of delays due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the hotly anticipated reunion episode of Friends—the popular sitcom that aired from 1994 through 2004 and jump-started the careers of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer—is due to start filming in March 2021.

Matthew Perry, better known as Chandler Bing on the series, made the announcement on Twitter on November 12, saying “Friends reunion being rescheduled for the beginning of March. Looks like we have a busy year coming up. And that’s the way we like it!”

Ben Winston will direct the special and executive produce alongside Friends executive producers Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane. Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television and Fulwell 73 Productions are behind the program. Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc, Perry, and Schwimmer also are executive producing the special, with Emma Conway and James Longman on board as co-executive producers.

Research contact: @Variety

Kould it be true? ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ is ending after 20 seasons

September 11, 2020

After a 20-season, 14-year run marked by marriages, divorces, births, deaths, affairs, plastic surgeries, gender-change surgery, world travel; and selfies of every variety, as well as tears and laughs, Keeping Up With the Kardashians announced on September 7 that the TV show’s last season on the E! Network is scheduled to start in early 2021.

 “It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians,’ ” the network said in a statement in conjunction with Kris Jenner, the Kardashian siblings (Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, and Rob), the Jenner sisters (Kylie and Kendall); and, naturally, Scott Disick. “We are beyond grateful to all of you who’ve watched us for all of these years — through the good times, the bad times, the happiness, the tears, and the many relationships and children. We’ll forever cherish the wonderful memories and countless people we’ve met along the way.”

The family thanked E!, the production team at Bunim/Murray; and Ryan Seacrest, who has been an executive producer on the show since the beginning.

E! released an official statement to Variety, regarding the ending of the monumental show that helped define the network as a destination beyond entertainment news.“E! has been the home and extended family to the Kardashian-Jenners for what will be 14 years, featuring the lives of this empowering family,” the network’s statement reads. “Along with all of you, we have enjoyed following the intimate moments the family so bravely shared by letting us into their daily lives. While it has been an absolute privilege and we will miss them wholeheartedly, we respect the family’s decision to live their lives without our cameras.”

“KUWTK” has been a massive hit globally for the network, which airs repeats of the franchise constantly — and pays a pretty penny for those rights. In 2017, E! inked a mega-deal with the family for a three-year extension, taking the show through 2020, valued at nine figures. At the time, insiders told Variety that the renewal deal was worth “below $100 million,” although other reports stated that the deal was worth up to $150 million.

The show turned the Kardashian-Jenner family into international superstars—with a multimedia empire complete with clothing lines, cosmetics companies, apps and never-ending tabloid interest in their every move. When the show debuted, Kris Jenner, now known as one of the savviest businesswomen in the industry, was known to the public as the ex-wife of O.J. Simpson attorney Robert Kardashian. Her former spouse, Olympian [Bruce] Caitlyn Jenner also ended up starring in her own E! spinoff, “I Am Cait, which documented her transition into a transgender woman.

According to Variety, when the show hit the air, the family was best known for Kim Kardashian-West’s sex tape, which brought worldwide attention to the socialite—whom previously had been Paris Hilton’s sidekick. Today, Kardashian-West is one of the most recognizable faces on the planet, and has taken her power to the White House with her passion for criminal justice reform. Meanwhile, Kendall and Kylie Jenner were just kids when the show first started airing, and now are two of the most powerful—and lucrative—influencers in the world.

At the time of the series’ 10-year anniversary in 2017, Kris Jenner spoke to Variety about the show’s milestones and futures. In that interview, she spoke about when the time might come to end the show, saying, “I used to just joke and say it’ll be when Kylie gets married in 20 years, and here we are 10 years later. Who thought a decade later we would still be going as strong as we are?”

The famous family members posted about the show ending on their social media accounts, which reach hundreds of millions of fans.

Kardashian-West posted to her 188 million followers: “Without ‘Keeping Up with The Kardashians,’ I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who has watched and supported me and my family these past 14 incredible years,” she wrote. “This show made us who we are and I will be forever in debt to everyone who played a role in shaping our careers and changing our lives forever.”

Research contact: @Variety