Alex Trebek’s Posthumous Thanksgiving Message To America: “Keep The Faith”


November 26, 2020 12:28pm

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The late, beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek has a Thanksgiving message for America: “Keep the faith. We’re going to get through all of this, and we will be a better society because of it.”

The game show tweeted a clip from today’s holiday Jeopardy! episode Trebek taped before his death from pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8.

Directly addressing viewers as was his end-of-show custom, Trebek, his voice noticeably raspy and without expressly mentioning the Covid-19 pandemic, says, “Happy Thanksgiving ladies and gentleman. You know, in spite of what America and the rest of the world are experiencing right now there are many reasons to be thankful. There are more and more people extending helping hands to do a kindness to their neighbors, and that’s a good thing. Keep the faith. We’re going to get through all of this and we’re going to be a better sodality because of it.”

In a touching message accompanying the tweeted video, the Jeopardy account notes, “High on our list of things to be thankful for this year: Alex’s Thanksgiving message from today’s show. We hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!”

Jeopardy producers have said Trebek taped 35 Jeopardy! episodes in the weeks before his death, which should keep new Trebek-hosted episodes airing until Christmas.

Watch Trebek’s Thanksgiving message above.

‘Radiograph Of A Family’ Wins Top Award At European Doc Fest IDFA


November 26, 2020 10:42am

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‘Radiograph Of A Family’

Amsterdam-based documentary festival IDFA has crowned Firouzeh Khosrovani’s Radiograph Of A Family as Best Feature-Length Documentary at its 2020 Awards Ceremony.

Taking place both at the city’s Vlaams Cultuurhuis De Brakke Grond as well as online, the ceremony also saw prizes awarded to Gorbachev. Heaven, which took Best Director for Vitaly Mansky, Inside The Red Brick Wall, which won Best Editing, and Nemesis, which took Best Cinematography.

The Best Feature-Length Documentary winner receives €20,000 while other awards range from €10,000 to €2,500.

Jury members for the IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary were Marie-Pierre Macia, Ed Lachman, Alice Diop, Abdelkader Benali, and Finn Halligan.

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IDFA 2020 still has 10 more days to run, but the fest has unveiled some stats for its event to date, saying the on-site portion of the festival had effectively been a sell-out (albeit with severely restricted numbers of screenings and capacities) with 15,000 admissions, while it had had 62,000 online film views and 3,000 online industry delegates.

Further IDFA awards are listed below.

IDFA Award for Best First Appearance (€10,000): Alina Gorlova for This Rain

IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary (€7,500): Nomin Lkhagvasuren for The Wheel

IDFA Award for Best Dutch Documentary (€7,500): Paul Sin Nam Rigter for Dealing With Death

IDFA Award for Best Short Documentary (€5,000): Marlén Viñayo for Unforgivable

IDFA Award for Best Student Documentary (€2,500): Anne Bertille Vopiande Ndeysseit for Biyo-biyo

IDFA Award for Best Children’s Documentary (€5,000): Ako Salemi for Shadegan

IDFA ReFrame Award for best creative use of archive (€5,000): Firouzeh Khosrovani for Radiograph Of A Family

Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Documentary Stipend (€50,000): Aboozar Amini

‘The Croods: A New Age’ Opening Day Near $2M As Pandemic Wrecks Thanksgiving Box Office Stretch


November 26, 2020 9:35am

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Universal’s release of DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age stayed on target from what we saw yesterday with an opening Wednesday of $1.85M in a very broken exhibition landscape where there’s only 2,650 theaters open right now out of national footprint of 5,5K. Croods 2 is booked at 2,211 theaters. Five-day projections are unpredictable as we don’t know how business will play out during the pandemic; there’s hope that Croods 2 might do $10M by Sunday, but that’s a lofty hope. In a normal market, moviegoing eases on Thanksgiving Day, and Good Friday is one of the busiest B.O. days of the year. Lord knows what the trends are now.

The overall U.S./Canada theater count of 2,65K is lower this weekend than the number of theaters which were open during Freaky‘s first weekend on Nov. 13-15, a time when well over 50% of the nation’s movie theaters had the light on, i.e. California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Minnesota, Colorado, Washington, Oregon and New Mexico — all closed now with other exhibitors contending with capacity and curfew limitations. Croods 2‘s opening day is light years away from what its 2013 first installment did during a normal marketplace with an opening day on March 22 that year of $11.6M, a 3-day of $43.6M and a final domestic of $187.1M, $587.2M WW.

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The Croods: A New Age notched an A CinemaScore on its opening day, on par with the first movie. Critics are at 71% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, not far from the first movie’s 72%.

Dreamworks Animation

The goods news for those exhibitors braving it is that Universal spent to open this movie, promoting via their NBC Universal and Comcast tentacles aka their Symphony program along with hefty promotional partners like Vizio, Chime, Burger King, especially for the pandemic. We can see the results of Uni’s ad spend here (estimated to be around $27M in TV spots per iSpot) at the box office as Croods 2‘s opening day is arguably the second best opening day on record since cinemas reopened during the pandemic ranking after Disney/20th Century Studios’ $3.1M first day of New Mutants back in August (We do not know what Tenet did on its opening day as Warner Bros never reported, and remember, the movie was confined to Canada then). Croods 2 blew away its holdover competition (most of it from Uni) yesterday, i.e. 2.) Freaky with around $160K, $6.1M cume, 3.) War With Grandpa with $120K, $16.5M cume, 4.) Let Him Go with $90K, $8.1M total, 5.) Come Play with $80K, $8.3M total.

Uni is optimistic about Croods 2‘s launch abroad in seven offshore markets, and will tout that number by Sunday, particularly China; the first 2013 movie (released by 20th Century Fox) grossing $63.3M in the PRC. Croods 2 is also opening in Singapore and the Middle East this weekend. The studio is also excited to see how the sequel turns out roughly 30 days from now once it drops on PVOD. Already available to rent at $19.99 in home are Focus Features’ Come Play and Let Him Go.

Walt Disney Studios

On the downside, the Thanksgiving box office stretch will be the worst ever on record because nothing is normal out there. Last year, the 5-day holiday was the second best per Comscore with $263.65M. The year before, 2018, set a box office holiday record with $315.4M. Frozen 2, in its second weekend, set a Thanksgiving record with $125M last year, the most made by any movie over the holiday’s five-day stretch. With studios like Warner Bros looking to have both cuts of their pie by releasing Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters and HBO Max on Christmas, and Godzilla vs. Kong poised to follow a similar form of release in 2021, and more studios poised to push more big pics onto PVOD or their streaming services, we cannot proclaim moviegoing as being dead. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Local safety protocols are stringent not only for cinemas, but restaurants as well. To say that moviegoing will be dead in the future, is to also say that concerts, live sporting events and cruises are dead too. We’re social creatures of habit, and once we truly know it’s safe out there with a vaccine taking its full effect, studios should regain faith in regards to re-investing in a theatrical release. The Spanish flu of 1918 didn’t annihilate the entire 20th century.

More on Croods 2. While other major studios vacated the theatrical release calendar post Tenet‘s lackluster launch at the B.O., even with Disney pulling Soul out of Thanksgiving in exchange for a Dec. 25 Disney+ release, Uni stayed committed to Croods: A New Age in theaters, blasting off the trailer in September to 42M views in its first 24-hours, now over 300M to date. Uni teamed with TikTok to utilize influencer platforms for multiple challenges leading up to release, i.e. “Crood Perfect” a riff on the popular Dude Perfect trick shot series, Beauty Transformation and Awkward Slow Dance duet which racked up more than 25M views from influencer posts and an impressive 24M views altogether.

The band HAIM dropped the song “Feel The Thunder” from the sequel across social media platforms. There’ was a special promotional partnership with Nintendo’s Animal Crossing allowing gamers to visit the Croods’ and Bettermans’ family at the Croods Cove. Celebrities and influencers known in this space were sent promotions and major Animal Crossing players have been hosted on dedicated tours with videos nearing 100K views.

Universal teamed with Feeding America, giving fans the opportunity to see a special screening of The Croods: A New Age via a drive-in experience located at Universal Citywalk.  This experience featured immersive set pieces and photo ops for fans all without leaving the security of their cars.   

Via the Comcast/NBCUniversal Symphony program, Croods 2 was advertised on E!, Bravo, Universal Kids, Syfy with custom content on the conglom’s streamer Peacock. Spots were booked during the Stanley Cup Finals, PGA Tour, French Open, NASCAR along with NBCUni holiday programming like today’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and The National Dog Show.


Daria Nicolodi Dies: ‘Suspiria’ Co-Writer, Famed Giallo Actress & Mother Of Asia Argento Was 70


November 26, 2020 9:23am

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Daria Nicolodi
Public Domain / Wikipedia

Daria Nicolodi, the Italian actress and screenwriter, has died at the age of 70.

Her daughter Asia Argento confirmed the news in an Instagram post, writing in Italian: “Rest in peace beloved mother. Now you can fly free with your great spirit and you won’t have to suffer anymore. I will try to go on for your beloved grandchildren and especially for you who would never want to see me so grieved. Even if without you I miss the ground under my feet, and I feel I have lost my only true point of reference. I am close to all those who have known and loved her. I will always be your Aria.”

Argento’s father was famed Italian horror director Dario Argento. The filmmaker co-wrote the classic 1977 film Suspiria with his wife Nicolodi, who would also have appeared in the movie were it not for an unfortunate injury she suffered prior to shooting. Nicolodi did, however, act in numerous of Argento’s films such as Deep Red, Inferno, Tenebrae, Phenomena, and Opera.

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Born in Florence in 1950, Nicolodi moved to Rome in the late 1960s and began acting in television. She broke into movies in the 1970s, finding success with her Giallo collaborations with Argento and continuing to act consistently through to the early 2000s.

Nicolodi and Argento separated in 1985. She also had a daughter, Anna, from her previous marriage to the sculptor Mario Ceroli.

Tributes have begun arriving for Nicolodi today including from Edgar Wright, Barbara Crampton, and the critic Kim Newman.

RIP to the wonderful Daria Nicolodi, co writer of Suspiria and truly magnetic star of Shock, Tenebrae, Phenomena, Opera and, my very favourite, Deep Red (Profondo Rosso).

— edgarwright (@edgarwright) November 26, 2020

Rip Daria Nicolodi. Fabulous writer and performer. You gave us so many gifts.This hurts my heart

— Barbara Crampton (@barbaracrampton) November 26, 2020

RIP Daria Nicolodi – this is her theme from Profondo Rosso …

— Kim Newman (@AnnoDracula) November 26, 2020

‘The Amazing Race’ Paces Quiet Pre-Holiday Wednesday Ratings


November 26, 2020 9:20am

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“The Amazing Race”

CBS’ The Amazing Race was the most-watched program on a quiet pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday in primetime, drawing 3.94 million viewers and a 0.6 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic to the first of its back-to-back episodes helping the network to the overall victory in total viewers.

Amazing Race at 8 p.m. was steady with last week and up in viewers. It was followed by a second episode (0.6, 3.56M) which bumped up a tenth, and a fresh S.W.A.T. (0.4, 3.25M) which also gained.

ABC and Fox tied with CBS for the top spot in the demo for the night, with four shows tying with 0.6 ratings. ABC’s comedy block included new episodes of The Goldbergs (0.6, 3.47M), The Conners (0.6, 3.73M) and Black-ish (0.4, 2.39M), all steady with last week, and American Housewife (0.5, 2.99M), which gained a tenth. For Life (0.5, 2.03M) also grew a tenth.

NBC subbed its Chicago trio for a pair of specials, Woman of Worth (0.2, 1.56M) followed by a two-hour SNL Thanksgiving (0.5, 2.41M).

Fox served up encores of its competition duo The Masked Singer and I Can See Your Voice, while the CW continued its Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life special (0.1, 520,000).

‘Star Trek’ & ‘Iron Fist’ Star Alice Eve Signs With Silver Lining Entertainment


November 26, 2020 9:09am

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David Cortes

EXCLUSIVE: Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Fist star Alice Eve has signed with management firm Silver Lining Entertainment.

Eve most recently starred in Epix series Belgravia from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and last year had a supporting role in Jay Roach’s Fox News movie Bombshell.

In post is sci-fi-thriller feature Warning, in which she stars with Kylie Bunbury, Annabelle Wallis, Alex Pattyfer, Patrick Schwarzenegger and Thomas Jane.

Eve’s previous credits include Marvel series Iron Fist and Entourage and movies Men In Black 3, Star Trek Into Darkness and Before We Go.

The actress remains with CAA, attorney Karl Austen, and Independent in the UK.

Silver Lining’s clients include Katherine Waterston, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jason Isaacs and Vincent D’Onofrio.

Claire Denis Confirms Juliette Binoche & Vincent Lindon Will Star In Her French Radio World-Set ‘Radioscopie’


November 26, 2020 8:47am

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Claire Denis, Juliette Binoche, Vincent Lindon
AP / Jorge Fuembuena Loscertales / San Sebastian Film Festival

High Life and Beau Travail filmmaker Claire Denis has revealed details of her upcoming project Radioscopie, a story set in the world of French radio which is set to star Juliette Binoche and Vincent Lindon.

Denis confirmed she is preparing the film as her next feature, to shoot in France, in an interview with France Culture. Part of the shoot will take place at famed Radio France headquarters Maison de la Radio in Paris, she said. Radioscopie is a daily cultural radio program that was first broadcast in 1968.

The project looks set to go before The Stars At Noon, her movie set in 1984 during the Nicaraguan Revolution which has been delayed by the pandemic. Deadline revealed that the project will reunite the director with her High Life actor Robert Pattinson, who will star with Margaret Qualley. A24 already bought the pic’s North American rights.

Radioscopie sees Denis reunite with her long-time collaborator Binoche following High Life and Let The Sunshine In. The filmmaker also previously directed Lindon in Bastards and Friday Night.

How To Watch Today’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Online & On TV


November 26, 2020 8:45am


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Performers on 34th Street during a pre-taping of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Wednesday
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Thanksgiving may look a little different this year as the Covid-19 pandemic keeps families from reuniting for turkey dinners, but Macy’s will continue with its annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in a modified fashion Thursday.

Set to feature performances and appearances by Dolly Parton, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots and more, the 94th annual event will opt for a virtual reimagining of the fall gathering — no crowds or even a parade route . Mario Lopez is set to host the event, most of which is being pre-taped this week within one 34th Street block near Macy’s flagship Herald Square store and utilizing only about a quarter of the usual participants to keep save from virus transmission.

The three-hour event will also feature performances from the casts of Broadway shows Jagged Little Pill, Mean Girls and Hamilton. Additional talent includes Tori Kelly, Patti LaBelle, Matthew Morrison, Leslie Odom Jr., Keke Palmer, Jordin Sparks and the New York City Rockettes (minus their usual kick-lines thanks to social distancing).

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Home-stuck viewers can catch the annual parade on NBC, with Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker hosting the broadcast from 9 a.m.-noon in all time zones. The event will also be simulcast in Spanish on Telemundo with Admari Lopez, Jessica Carrillo, Rodner Figuero and Nastassia Bolivar hosting. An encore presentation is set for 2-5 p.m. in all time zones.

Those wishing to take an Internet approach to the holiday spectacle can head to Verizon’s digital platforms including YouTube, which will have the livestream starting 9 ET. You can watch that stream here:

For the first time in the parade’s broadcast history, NBCUniversal will provide live audio description on the Secondary Audio Program channel to cater to blind and visually impaired viewers.

Brad Lachman Productions produces the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Lachman serves as executive producer, Bill Bracken co-executive produces and Ron de Moraes directs.

“Santa” Steve Carell And His Elves Retool Christmas, 2020-Style, In Craig Gillespie-Directed Xfinity Short Film


November 26, 2020 7:30am

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Steve Carell plays Santa Claus leading an elf reinvention of Christmas in The Greatest Gift, the latest long-form ad for Xfinity TV and broadband.

The Comcast division debuted a two-minute version of the short film on NBC’s broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, with a three-and-a-half-minute version going online right afterward. (Watch the longer one above.) The branding effort is following the pattern established with last Thanksgiving’s popular mini-reboot of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial.

Craig Gillespie, director of I, Tonya and upcoming Disney release Cruella, took the helm for the spot, which depicts a last-minute reworking of the Christmas ritual. The tumultuous events of 2020, from COVID-19 to the presidential election to racial unrest, necessitate a change to the usual approach to the holidays. “After the year we’ve had, the usual gifts just aren’t going to cut it,” Santa informs a group of elves via a videoconference.

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With time running out before Christmas Eve, the elves wrack their brains for a solution before inspiration finally strikes. They hit on the idea to give the spirit of the holidays itself, expressed through experiences like family snowball fights and the smell of grandma’s cooking instead of physical objects.

Supertramp’s 1974 song “Dreamer,” reinterpreted by the band’s lead singer, Roger Hodgson, plays during the second half of the film as the sentiments of the season are boxed up and loaded into Santa’s sleigh.

Ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners teamed with Gillespie and production company MJZ to produce the film.

“The holidays are really about moments of togetherness with the people you love, and serve as a reminder for what’s most important, especially given the hardships of this past year,” Carell said. “I hope that this sweet little story will bring a bit of cheer.”

Gillespie saluted Carell for his performance. “He brought the heart, warmth and humor that is the magic of this spot,” he said, adding that it is “rare to have such a special project come along. Being able to collaborate with the agency and craft a message borne of this particular moment that captures a longing for togetherness was very gratifying.”

The commercial campaign is designed to do more than plug pay-TV and broadband. Xfinity has also launched a Pinterest activation called The Greatest Gift Shoppe, which aims to help keep families connected with activities like “blanket-fort” designs, holiday movie recommendations and other tips. Xfinity’s X1 platform and Flex broadband video offering have added custom voice commands like “holiday movies,” “holiday music,” “the greatest gift,” “togetherness” and a few more.

Todd Arata, SVP of Brand Marketing at Comcast, noted that the internet in 2020 “has kept us more connected than ever, allowing us to do more than we thought possible, in the face of less-than-ideal circumstances.”

After the holiday charm offensive, Comcast plans to implement rate increases in 2021 covering a range of TV and internet services. (AT&T has announced similar increases.) A 1.2-terabyte monthly data cap is also going to be expanded to Comcast’s full 39-state footprint.

UK’s Channel 4 Creates $40M Global Format Fund As It Bids To Wean Itself Off TV Ad Revenue


November 26, 2020 5:15am

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Channel 4

British broadcaster Channel 4 has unveiled plans to launch a £30M ($40M) Global Format Fund to secure a bigger cut of international content sales as it bids to generate 40% of its revenue from non-TV advertising sources.

The Format Fund, detailed today as part of Channel 4’s so-called Future4 strategy, will involve the broadcaster investing early in the development of non-scripted shows with international potential. Think Gogglebox or Come Dine With Me, which started life in the UK on Channel 4 and have gone on to have success on the world stage.

Channel 4 will partner with producers at an early stage and back ideas with guaranteed minimum series runs and recommissioning triggers upfront. It will also commit to certain levels of marketing support for the shows selected under the two-year scheme and provide audience intelligence to bolster global sales materials. Producers will retain control of international rights, but in return for its upfront commitment, Channel 4 expects half the revenue from finished tape and format sales.

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Channel 4 said it wants 10% of its £985M total revenue to come from non-advertising sources over the next five years, while it also plans to double digital sales to 30% of all income. This gets you to the 40% figure that Channel 4 is targeting. Currently, nearly 80% of Channel 4’s total revenue is from traditional TV advertising, which has proven hugely volatile during the Covid-19 crisis.

The ambition is all part of Channel 4 making the case for its future sustainability. The broadcaster, which is wholly-owned by the UK government but commercially self-sufficient, was battered by the coronavirus pandemic, forcing it to slash costs and furlough staff. It has since rallied, but the UK government has asked questions about whether Channel 4 can continue in its current form and has again raised the prospect of selling the company.

As part of the Future4 strategy, which was outlined to staff and the industry on Thursday, Channel 4 said it would focus significantly more resource on its streamer All 4. As well as doubling revenue, it wants to double All 4’s viewing by 2025 after it has racked up one billion streams this year, driven by hits including The Great British Bake Off.

Growing All 4 will mean putting digital commissioning ahead of ordering shows that would work on traditional television, though CEO Alex Mahon stressed that “this is not to abandon our linear channels.” Channel 4 offered little detail on how this will be achieved, but it is likely to mirror similar work currently going on at the BBC and ITV, which are also starting to put online commissioning first. Channel 4 added that harnessing the data it generates from its 24M registered users will also become increasingly important.

Another plank in the Future4 strategy is to “increase the scale, investment and impact” of its production investment initiative, the Indie Growth Fund. Channel 4 has invested in 18 producers since the fund launched in 2014 and has generated returns after the likes of Sex Education producer Eleven sold to Sony Pictures Television — a deal Deadline first revealed in April. Digital investment scheme, Channel 4 Ventures, could also be expanded, but Mahon added that Channel 4 is not about to be “moving to in-house production.”

Summing up the revenue diversification plan, Mahon said: “Our new Future4 strategy is about underpinning our commercial sustainability and ensuring that we have a clear plan to transform ourselves into a digital public service media organisation that delivers across the whole of the UK for the future.”

Cinemas In England Can Re-Open Next Week Under Government’s COVID Winter Plan, But Tier Restrictions Draw Criticism – Update


November 26, 2020 4:15am


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Mega Images

UPDATE, NOVEMBER 26: The UK government has confirmed which sections of the country will be entering the three tiers of Covid-19 restrictions. Levels 1 and 2 will allow for cinemas to re-open, while tier 3 will not, as of December 2 when a four-week nationwide lockdown is lifted.

London and Liverpool will be placed in tier 2, meaning cinemas can resume business, albeit with restrictions in place such as distancing and early close times. Various other measures such as people not being able to interact with other households indoors (outside of support bubbles) will also limit the number of people who can attend screenings.

Cinemas will however remain closed in Greater Manchester, several parts of the North East including Newcastle, the Midlands including Birmingham, Nottingham and Leicester, as well as part of the South East and South West, all of which are in tier 3.

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PREVIOUSLY, November 23: Cinemas in England have been given the green light to re-open next week when a four-week country-wide lockdown comes to an end on December 2.

Culture secretary Olive Dowden confirmed on Twitter that indoor performances will be allowed to resume with numbers capped at 1,000 and 50% venue capacity (whichever is lower), but this will be restricted in certain areas of the country.

England is re-entering a tiered lockdown system, similar to what it employed before this second lockdown though with slightly stricter regulations. Venues will be allowed to re-open in tiers 1 and 2, though they will need to remain shut in the more strict tier 3, which will be where infections are highest. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have their COVID restrictions implemented locally and are not part of this latest announcement.

The UK Cinema Association released a fiery response to today’s news, slamming the government’s decision to continue to mandate cinemas shut in tier 3 zones, describing it as “heart-breaking” and urging the gov to re-consider. You can read the full statement further down this article.

It has not been revealed which sections of the country will be placed in which tier when the lockdown lifts next week. However, key cinema market London has a growing rate of COVID infections at present and is expected to be in at least tier 2.

Cineworld, the country’s second-largest cinema chain, is also unlikely to re-open venues. The company closed down its entire circuit prior to the second lockdown, citing a lack of available high-profile films. Deadline has asked the chain if it is now planning to re-open but comments made to us by CEO Mooky Greidinger recently make it look unlikely to happen pre-Christmas.

In terms of the slate, Wonder Woman 1984 is on the horizon after WB announced it will stick to its December 16 date. That could be a boost to cinemas that do re-open but the fact WB will also put the film simultaneously online will likely cause a problem for the multiplexes due to their strict windowing policies.

Here’s the response from Phil Clapp, chief exec of the UK Cinema Association:

“This Association and its members have worked extraordinarily hard – in consultation with Government – to put wide-reaching safeguarding measures in place in all UK cinemas.

Not only are these appreciated by audiences – with our latest industry survey suggesting that 93 per cent of returning cinema-goers reporting that they had felt safe during visit – but more importantly have resulted in no recorded cases of COVID being traced back to the cinema.

As we approach Christmas, a time when families typical return to the big screen, this decision – based as it seems to be on little or no evidence of risk – will make the continued survival of many cinemas all the more challenging.

Cinemas provide vital support for good mental health at this time – much in the way that gymnasiums, which will be allowed to open it seems, do for physical health. But unlike gyms, cinemas are able to deliver an experience where people are sat socially-distanced for much of their visit in strongly air-conditioned theatres, all the while wearing face coverings.

It is heart-breaking to note that within days of Warner Bros confirming the release of Wonder Woman 1984 on December 16 – only the second tentpole release since March, Government seems needlessly to have put another barrier in place to the sector’s recovery.

We would ask that this decision is reconsidered as a matter of urgency if we are not to see further damage done to the UK cinema sector.”

Germany’s Cinemas To Remain Closed Until At Least December 20


November 26, 2020 3:08am


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Germany has extended its partial coronavirus lockdown until at least December 20, meaning cinemas in the European major will not resume operations before that date. It is also possible, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, that restrictions could continue into January. A re-evaluation is due to take place on December 15.

Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman 1984 currently has a December 23 theatrical release date in the market, but depending on how the situation evolves, it’s conceivable the film could be obliged to move. Martin Moszkowicz, CEO of Constantin Film which has Milla Jovovich-starrer Monster Hunter ready to go, tells Deadline, “I’d say it is safe to say that Monster Hunter will not be released in Germany this year. But we have not made that decision yet. And other countries are different.” Both the UK and France recently set plans to reopen cinemas in December, while the Netherlands returned in late November. Asia has had great success in the reopening process. Both Monster Hunter (December 4) and Wonder Woman 1984 (December 18) are soon due in China.

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Cinemas originally closed in Germany in March, and began a reopening process in May and June. They were shuttered again in early November for what was hoped to be a month-long period. This is one of the markets that had excelled with drive-in theaters through the pandemic, though we understand they are not currently operating.

The most recent news out of Germany comes as the number of daily COVID-19 cases remains “too high,” Merkel said, with 18,633 recorded in the previous 24 hours. The number of COVID-related deaths hit a high of 410 it was reported Wednesday. Still, a steeply rising curve of new infections has hit a plateau, “but this is only a partial success” that is not satisfactory to lift lockdown restrictions, Merkel indicated.

Merkel made the announcements on Wednesday evening after a seven-hour video call with the heads of the 16 German states. There will be some exemptions around the holidays so that members of different households can gather in groups of no more than 10 people. Bars, restaurants, cultural venues and leisure facilities will also remain closed.

For the restrictions to be lifted again, local reports say the infection rate would have to drop to under 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per week.

‘Genius: Aretha’ Wraps Production, Set For 2021 Debut On Nat Geo


November 25, 2020 1:08pm

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Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin
Nat Geo

Another series whose production was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic has successfully finished its season. Genius: Aretha, the third installment in National Geographic’s anthology series, wrapped production today in Atlanta. The show commemorated the occasion with photos on Instagram featuring star Cynthia Erivo as music icon Aretha Franklin as well as executive producer/showrunner Suzan-Lori Parks, who sent the cast and crew a welcome-back note the day the series resumed production last month, and executive producer/director Anthony Hemingway.

The caption accompanying the photos notes that Genius: Aretha will debut in 2021.

Genius: Aretha, about the legendary singer Franklin, had filmed 5 1/2 episodes of its eight-episode order when production shut down mid-March amid the escalating coronavirus outbreak. Two weeks later, Nat Geo delayed the premiere of the limited series, originally slated for May 25, for “later this year.” An early 2021 debut had been considered a more likely scenario given the lengthy pandemic-related hiatus, and that has now been confirmed. Genius: Aretha, from Imagine Television and Touchstone TV, is expected to premiere before the Aretha Franklin movie biopic Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson, whose release was recently pushed to August 2021.

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After extensive prep work, Genius: Aretha restarted production on October 1 in Atlanta. Three weeks later, filming came to a halt for a couple of days after a background actor tested positive for Covid-19, an issue many productions grapple with amid a new wave of infections. The wrap on the eight-episode series comes almost a year after filming started last December.

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Genius: Aretha is dubbed as the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted limited series on the life of the Queen of Soul. Erivo stars as Franklin, joined by Courtney B. Vance, Malcolm Barrett, Patrice Covington, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Shaian Jordan, Marque Richardson, Pauletta Washington, Steven Norfleet and Omar J. Dorsey. T.I., Antonique Smith and Tina Fears are recurring. Hemingway is executive producer and director. Parks is executive producer/showrunner. Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard as well as Clive Davis and Atlantic Records Chairman and CEO Craig Kallman also executive produce.

TikTok Sale Deadline Extended Again By U.S. Government Committee


November 25, 2020 12:59pm

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In this photo illustration a TikTok logo is seen displayed on a smartphone with an American flag on the background. On July 31, 2020, according to media reports, Trump told reporters on his special plane “Air Force One” that he will ban TikTok from operating in the United States. (Photo by Sheldon Cooper / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

The federal government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has extended the deadline for the arranged sale of TikTok by one week, to December 4.

In a brief legal filing Wednesday, government attorneys disclosed the latest extension, which followed a previous two-week reprieve to November 27. Officials have been in a months-long back-and-forth with TikTok and its China-based parent, ByteDance, due to security concerns centered on the fast-growing social video app.

In August, President Donald Trump signed an order requiring the company to sell TikTok to a “very American” company due to concerns about national security as well as privacy. A month later, Oracle emerged as Trump’s choice to take majority control of a new, U.S.-run entity in which Walmart would also have a stake. Details of the arrangement have not been finalized, however, and Trump’s order has faced numerous court challenges in the months since it was issued. On November 10, attorneys for TikTok asked a federal appeals court to overturn the order, calling it “unlawful.”

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The whole affair has also been eclipsed in recent weeks by Trump’s unsuccessful fight for a second term in office.

While datamining is a concern throughout the tech industry, Chinese companies are required to pass along considerable amounts of the data they collect to the government. That dynamic has raised flags for a number of U.S. officials, especially during a nationalist period of trade war with China and Trump and others blithely referring to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus.” While ByteDance was founded by a Chinese entrepreneur, the company has maintained that it is not technically based in China.

As the messy situation has dragged on, users have been none the wiser as the app continues to function normally. Trump’s initial threat to leave U.S. users in the dark unless a sale happened has appeared to diminish, and some observers wonder if the delays in the process might continue until Joe Biden is sworn in as president in January. A reconfiguration of TikTok’s ownership could still happen in a new administration, but Biden’s background suggests other scenarios besides the sell-it-or-else approach taken by Trump.

Late ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek Omitted From Own Memoir’s Grammy Nomination; Ken Jennings Responds: “This Should 100% Be Alex’s Grammy Nomination”


November 25, 2020 12:46pm


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Late Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek was left off the nominees list for the 2021 Grammy Awards, despite his memoir Alex Trebek–The Answer Is…receiving a nod for the ceremony’s Best Spoken World Album award. Instead of Trebek, who died of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8, Ken Jennings received the nomination for Trebek’s memoir.

“This should 100% be Alex’s Grammy nomination. He wrote this book and reads so much fo the audiobook!,” the Jeoapardy! champ said on Twitter following the nominations announcement on Tuesday. “Who do I speak to about this.”

Trebek and Jennings both narrated the former’s memoir, published by Simon & Schuster. Despite the publisher submitting both the Jeopardy! host and champion, only Jennings received the nom.

The news of Jenning’s Grammy nomination for Trebek’s memoir came less than two days after Jeopardy! officials announced that the trivia show GOAT will be the first guest host to take over the series when it returns to production on Nov. 30.

Deadline has reached out to Simon & Schuster for comment on Trebek’s omission.

See Jenning’s reaction on social media below.

This should 100% be Alex's Grammy nomination. He wrote the book and reads much of the audiobook! Who do I speak to about this

— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) November 24, 2020