The big news story today is Woody Allen suing Amazon for $68 million.
He had a 4-picture deal with them which was terminated for what Allen and his lawyers have described as baseless reasons. His most recent film, A Rainy Day in New York, has been long-completed and remains without distribution.
As per his legal team:
After it had obtained the benefit of its association with Mr. Allen, Amazon egregiously rejected its obligations and attempted to terminate the deals unilaterally with absolutely no legal basis.
While I understand the PR reasoning behind Amazon’s decision to back out of the deal, it does seem like Allen has a very valid case here.
Mission Impossible 5+6 director (and soon-to-be 7+8) Christopher McQuarrie has teamed with Anthony Peckham (Invictus) in adapting the Bill Clinton/James Patterson book The President is Missing as a Showtime series.
There is a new Shaft movie on the way, which will bring together three generations of Shafts. Original film series star Richard Rowntree appears along with 2000’s Shaft Samuel L Jackson. The new generation of Shaft is played by Jessie T Usher.
While the film will be released on 14 June in the US to theaters, internationally it goes straight to Netflix. It’s thought that this may become a model for a number of films geared towards African American audiences which tend to perform very well in the US, but don’t have much box office traction internationally.
Starz is starting an international roll-out of its streaming service, starting in Canada on 1 March.
Also on March 1, pay-TV sibling Encore will rebrand as Starz on two linear channels and in pay-TV operators’ on-demand venues. (Encore became “Starz Encore” in the U.S. in 2016.) A week after that, Starz will become available directly across Canada as an add-on to Crave for an extra $6 a month. The streaming service can be accessed via Crave.ca, the Crave app on iOS and Android, and Apple TV Generation 4. Additional platforms will roll out in the coming months, the companies said.
Michael Moore’s TV Nation revival has been canned, with the documentarian over-committed to other projects.
On the 13 of January, US network PBS began airing season 3 of the UK ITV drama Victoria starring Jenna Coleman. Season 3 will air in Australia on BBC First from 14 March.
You know where it doesn’t have a release date yet? On ITV in the UK where programmers are waiting for the right timeslot. Weird.
Archie and the Riverdale gang have been going gangbusters on TV recently. Riverdale is huge on The CW, while The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is building a loyal audience on Netflix. And there’s a Katy Keene pilot in the works. It has led to Archie Comics Publications hiring two new executives to further work towards the multiplatform spread of Archie properties.
Mostly I am waiting for them to get around to a very adult and explicit exploration of what Mr Weatherbee gets up to after hours.
80s UK drama Bergerac is up for a remake in the US with Paramount currently in development on it.
There are rumours that The Muppets are heading to Disney+.
Josh Gad (Frozen) and the creative duo behind ONCE UPON A TIME Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz have created a show called MUPPETS LIVE ANOTHER DAY. The show takes place right after the events of 1984’s THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN. Kermit disbands the gang but they are brought back together after the mysterious disappearance of Rowlf.
Everything about an 80s-set Muppets series excites me. The involvement of Josh Gad, however….