Film Review: ‘Being Evel’

August 21, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Johnny Knoxville and director Daniel Junge collaborate on a warts-and-all bio-docu about daredevil stuntman Evel Knievel.

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IFC’s ‘Documentary Now’ Goes Where Other Parodies Won’t

August 20, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Though it features hilarious send ups of some of the most influential documentaries of the past 30 years, Seth Meyers argued Documentary Now—the new IFC series Meyers created with fellow SNL alums Bill Hader and Fred Armisen—means no harm. "We wanted these to feel like companions," said Meyers, during a screening and discussion Tuesday night in New York. In 'Sandy Passage,' the premiere episode tonight at 10 p.m. ET, Hader and Armisen play two upper class recluses—a parody of the 1975 documentary-turned Broadway play-turned 2009 HBO film, Grey Gardens. "Nothing would make us happier than if people saw Sandy Passage and it would make them—if they hadn't seen it—go see Grey Gardens." Director and producer Rhys Thomas noted that first and foremost, they are fans of all the films Documentary Now parodies. They went so far as to contact the people behind the originals before they began their own filming.

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These Are Literally the Top Dogs in Entertainment

August 20, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

With the dog days of summer upon us, and with the help of E-Poll, we've put together a list of the top dogs in entertainment. The research firm asked kids and adults across the U.S. about their favorite canine characters. Dug, from the movie Up was top dog, while iconic Peanuts character Snoopy and that scrappiest of pups, Scooby-Doo, traded off for the second spot, depending on age group. The rankings are the percentage of consumers who found each pup "appealing": Top Dogs for Adults (13-49) 1. Dug (Up) 81% 2. Snoopy 71% 3. Scooby-Doo 70% 4. Brian Griffin (Family Guy) 64% 5. Gromit 63% 6

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Why This Broadcaster is Going Beyond TV to Wearables and VR

August 20, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When Telemundo celebrates the best in U.S. Latin pop culture with tonight's fourth-annual Premios Tu Mundo, live from Miami's American Airlines Arena at 8 p.m., the Hispanic broadcaster will have more to tout than just its winners. Premios Tu Mundo looks to cap a strong summer for Telemundo, which saw the Hispanic broadcaster close the gap with rival Univision to the smallest it's ever been. In July, Telemundo was only behind Univision by 238,000 viewers in primetime; in July of 2014 that gap was more than 700,000 and was between 1.3 to 1.6 million in 2013. "We've got momentum," Joe Uva chairman, Hispanic Enterprises and Content, NBCUniversal told Uva.

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China’s New Media Moguls Dominate Asia Rich List

August 20, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Harun billionaires list hails a “new era of mainland China entrepreneurs”

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Two L.A. Ad Guys Welcome Zombies to Their Midst With ‘Cheer the Walking Dead’

August 18, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

"Just what Los Angeles needs. Fewer brains." Unfortunately, that's not a tagline for Fear the Walking Dead, which premieres this Sunday on AMC as the second series in the cable-television-eating Walking Dead zombie franchise. Rather, it's a line from two freelance L.A. creative directors, Charlie Noback and Brian Engleman, who are launching an Instagam called Cheer the Walking Dead. The idea is simple: Celebrate the arrival of the undead in their fair city by zombifying classic L.A. images. They've posted half a dozen so far, and are hoping to get submissions (via email) from other creatives. "There are so many overworked ad professionals right now, sometimes I think we're the real zombies," says Engleman

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Alibaba, Tencent Increase Stake in China’s Huayi Brothers

August 18, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Huayi Brothers, China’s largest private-sector film company, has sold $560 million of new shares to a quartet of institutional and corporate investors, including Alibaba and Tencent.

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Japan Box Office: ‘Jurassic World’ Leads Chart Topping Hollywood Trio

August 18, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

“Jurassic World” won its second straight weekend at the Japanese box office.

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FX Snatches Up the TV Rights to Air Straight Outta Compton

August 17, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Though it's not clear how much of the 147 minutes FX will be able to show on basic cable, the company said today it has acquired exclusive U.S. commercial television premiere rights to Straight Outta Compton. The biopic about late-1980s/early-1990s hip-hop group N.W.A—which launched the careers of Ice Cube and Dr. Dre—was the top-grossing movie this weekend with a $60.2 million opener. That's the fifth-highest August premiere ever. Airing the profanity-laden film will certainly be a challenge for the network's censors, though that hasn't stopped cable channels in the past from buying rights to hard R-rated films that aren't exactly family friendly. IFC is one of the few nonpremium cable networks that will air movies unedited, four-letter words and all. FX has been on a spending spree of late when it comes to blockbluster films. Straight Outta Compton joins a roster that includes commercial TV premiere rights for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Minions, Jurassic World and Furious 7. FX has also licensed Trainwreck, Spy, Pixels, Terminator Genisys, Ted 2, Pitch Perfect 2, Taken 3, Kingsman: The Secret Service and Home.

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Which Networks’ Data Platforms Do Media Buyers Actually Like?

August 17, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Data dominated this year's upfront presentations, as each network claimed it had the best data platform to help advertisers and media buyers enhance TV buys. Now that upfront business has finally wrapped, we asked several buyers to anonymously review the networks' individual data offerings and separate the contenders from the pretenders. Their conclusions: It's a three-horse race. To buyers, three players stand out: NBCUniversal , Viacom and Turner . They gave low marks to ABC, CBS, Discovery and A&E for supplying little more than the data they and their clients already have access to. Said one buyer: "All ABC is doing is optimizing your prime-time inventory, which you could do on your own." Optimization less than optimal. One buyer praised Viacom's willingness to optimize its data every two weeks, though another said NBCU's quarterly optimization was just fine. "On our side, it requires man hours to be changing the schedules all the time as well. I doubt most clients would need to do it more frequently," the buyer said. Turner isn't allowing any optimization at all, "which obviously presents problems because if audiences are changing their viewership habits, you want to be able to follow them." They're down with ATP. Buyers gravitated toward NBCU's Audience Targeting Platform because of its ability to provide them with data from Comcast set-top boxes. "That's very appealing because that has not been offered in any platform to date," said a buyer. They're going with what they—or their clients—know. "I'm honestly leaning more toward NBCU because we do a lot of business with them," admitted one buyer. Another agreed that familiarity goes a long way, especially with platforms they've already beta-tested: "If I had to go to bat for one of them to a client, it would probably be Turner. Because I've already used it, and that holds a lot of water in terms of executing these kinds of things." Bigger is better. Buyers like that NBCU and Viacom products "span a large swath of different networks and different inventory. The bigger the available pull of inventory, the better targeted you can be," said one. That's where Turner has a tougher time measuring up. "If you're cutting the data a little thinner, then you start to run into sample-size issues and viability of buying against certain more granular targets," said another buyer

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