How Wattpad Is Courting Streamers and Producers Worldwide With User-Generated Stories (and Data)

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With studios like Disney and WarnerMedia hoarding content in preparation to launch streaming services, original content has become a priority among streamer’s attempting to build their subscriber base.

Hoping to capitalize on this trend is Wattpad, a text-based storytelling platform with more than 500 million user-generated stories and over 70 million users around the globe. The first fruits of Wattpad’s push into filmed content can already be seen: “Light as a Feather,” a supernatural thriller based on Zoe Aarsen’s episodic Wattpad stories that has gotten 3.3 million reads, debuted as a 10-part Hulu series last October — and last month got greenlit for a second season.

Sony Pictures Television last year announced plans to develop a series based on Katarina E. Tonks’ “Death is My BFF,” a story about a sarcastic Angel of Death who meets his match that garnered 92 million reads on Wattpad.

The Toronto-based company has also partnered with Universal Cable Productions (a division of NBCUniversal), eOne, Syfy and the CW Seed to create additional projects. And after raising $117.1 million from investors including Tencent, BDC, Globe Telecom’s Kickstart Ventures, Peterson Group, Canso and Raine, the text-based app hopes to expand its initial success with filmed entertainment projects into territories like Korea, Germany, Indonesia and India, where it has a growing readership.

Also Read: Wattpad to Launch Video Content in Korea via New Partnership With Huayi Brothers

Wattpad offers more than just tens of thousands of user-generated stories to be adapted for film, TV and other entertainment projects — and a built-in fan base for its most popular content. By analyzing the trends emerging within its platform, the company believes it can offer entertainment partners data-backed content that will successfully connect with audiences worldwide.

“Right now the industry uses test audiences to understand how viewers will react to finished products,” head of Wattpad Studios Aron Levitz said. “We want to turn that process upside down, starting with audience insights first, and then making decisions based on what people are already excited about.”

The most popular stories on the platform, who are already compensated through in-story ads and donations from readers, receive additional compensation if a story is picked up by a studio or streamer (the amount varies).

Wattpad’s promise for international markets is data-backed content that can target specific demographics. Using machine-learning artificial intelligence, the company said it can identify plot line and subject trends taking place throughout content posted to its site. It can then narrow down the trends to specific regions and languages. These trends could include highlighting underlying themes, pointing out genres that drive the most interaction and identifying the most-read subjects on the platform.

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“In a country like Indonesia, we found that the most popular romance stories tend to fall into a sort of Muslim romance, arranged-marriage kind of trope,” said Dexter Ong, who oversees Wattpad Asia Studios, which last August partnered with the Asian streaming company iflix to produce 26 films based on stories and trends on the platform.

Ong’s data is derived from the more than 9 million Indonesian readers engaging with stories by “liking” or commenting, down to a specific paragraph.

“It’s a bit tough in this part of the world to fill the demand for original content,” Ong said, noting that many Asian countries have small entertainment business and less creative talent compared to Hollywood. “So when you’re able to bring a solution where we have a tremendous volume of locally relevant authentic stories that are written in a local language and we have the data to back,” he added, it’s a big plus for a company like iflix.

Iflix, which is to announce the first slate of titles to come out of its Wattpad deal in the coming weeks, sees the advantages. “We now have the opportunity to work with thousands of talented Indonesian writers to bring their stories to life for millions of iflix users in Indonesia,” iflix chief content officer Sean Carey said.

Also Read: Wattpad Launches Virtual Currency to Help Its Creators Get Paid

Wattpad also sees opportunities in India, announcing a partnership on Wednesday with Times Bridge, the global investment arm of the Times Group in India, to develop locally-produced Wattpad stories for adaptation into books, TV shows, films, and digital projects.

The platform currently has 2.6 million users and stories in multiple Indian languages including Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Assamese, Marathi and Oriya. Given the diverse number of languages spoken in India, a promise of content that can target a specific group is something that is welcomed by those breaking into the country.

“Millions of Indian readers and writers have already found a home Wattpad,” Devashish Sharma, Wattpad’s head of India operations, said. “Times Bridge and The Times Group have an unmatched media and entertainment portfolio, and connections with some of India’s most respected authors and cultural figures. We’re excited to work together to create new opportunities for Indian storytellers.”

Also Read: How YouTube Has Outpaced Netflix and Amazon in India

Additionally, Wattpad recently laid roots in Korea, where it partnered with a talent agency and production company Huayi Brothers Korea to produce content based on Wattpad IP. The partnership is open to any Wattpad stories available on the platform internationally. The Huayi Brothers Korea partnership follows a similar deal Wattpad signed in June with the German-based company Bavaria Fiction, which will also adapt content based on Wattpad stories.

“All across the industry, projects fail. Shows are canceled and films bomb. Why? Because executives make decisions based on what they think will work. People rely on their experience to rationalize intuitive decision-making,” Levitz said. “We’re coming to the end of that era.”

 

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How Kanopy Wants to Revolutionize Libraries With a Pay-Per-Play OTT Service

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Olivia Humphrey is on a mission to bring Kanopy, an indie film-centric streaming service that she originally launched in Australia, to every library-card holder in the United States. The Kanopy business model is different from other typical “free” OTT services. While VOD platforms such as Popcornflix and Tubi rely on ads to fund content for users, Kanopy members rely on their local libraries to foot the bill.

Instead of paying a monthly fee for the service, participating libraries pay for each movie played by one of its card holders. Libraries pay $2 per play regardless of the movie, according to people familiar with the arrangements. That fee is split 50/50 between Kanopy and the licenser of the film, according to an individual familiar with the business, which Humphrey said was a more generous cut than most OTTs offer content owners.

Like most streaming services, Kanopy wouldn’t disclose revenues or the number of active monthly users on the platform. However, Humphrey said the business is profitable and achieved a 100 percent increase in revenue from 2017 to 2018.

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The VOD service offers more than 20,000 independent films and documentaries, including the 2016 Oscar-winning drama “Moonlight,” the 2014 sci-fi film “Ex Machina,” the 2001 drama-fantasy “Donnie Darko” and 400 titles from the Criterion Collection. Kanopy is also home to the entire A24 catalogue, which includes Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-nominated 2018 dramedy “Lady Bird.” (A24 declined a request for comment on the partnership.)

Kanopy is currently available to 50 million library users across the U.S. and still growing, signing up around 50 new libraries per month. In total, Kanopy now services 3,000 U.S. libraries and 1,500 U.S. college campuses.

Since partnering with Kanopy at the start of February, Mid-Columbia Library in Washington state has had thousands of visits to its Kanopy site and more than 300 people have signed up for the service, according to the library’s communications and advancement director David Diaz.

“Kanopy’s thought-provoking videos are the perfect complement to our existing DVD collection,” Diaz said. “We were excited to offer our customers another quality product from our vast digital branch.”

The library, like others that partner with Kanopy, set a monthly limit on the number of films its members can watch to protect the library from being blindsided by unexpected costs if users stream too many movies. The New York Public Library limits users to 10 videos a month, while the Brooklyn Public Library allows six.

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“We are solving a big problem for public libraries, which is engaging their community and maintaining their relevancy,” Humphrey said.

While library use among Americans has dropped 6 percent since 2012, Pew Research from 2017 found that 46 percent of Americans 18 and older had visited a library at least once in the 12 months prior.

Humphrey believes Kanopy can help stop the bleeding. “When we launched, say for example, in New York Public Library, they had a record amount of new members sign up,” she told TheWrap. “In fact, they had to hire a team of temps to cope with all the new members and all of the reactivated memberships.” The New York Public Library did not respond to requests for comment.

Humphrey, who previously worked in brand management at BBC Worldwide, originally launched Kanopy in 2008 as a DVD distribution business that would rent out and sell DVDs to Australian universities.

“We knew that university students go to the cinema quite often and bought the DVDs, but on campus there was just books and journals. The video was nowhere to be seen,” Humphrey told TheWrap. “It didn’t make any sense. These students are watching more film in the real world but not in their academic world.”

In 2010, around the same time that YouTube was gaining popularity, Humphrey decided to turn that DVD distribution business into an online streaming business. She eventually expanded her OTT beyond universities and brought the offering to libraries across Australia and the U.S.

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“There were 35 universities in Australia and around 4,500 in the U.S.,” Humphrey said, regarding why international expansion was a no-brainer for growth.

The company also recently launched a work space in the United Kingdom, which Humphrey says will be a big focus this year, along with beefing up its content library. The company has a 50-person team in San Francisco, which first opened six years ago.

Additionally, Kanopy is increasing its focus to encompass more children’s programming and has plans to relaunch its streaming platform, Kanopy Kids, sometime in the middle of the year.

Like most OTT services, Kanopy has challenges with discoverability. “The biggest challenge we face when we sign up a new library is communicating the fact that Kanopy is live to the members of that library,” she added.

Libraries like Florida’s LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library have relied on Facebook to spread the word to its 6,000-plus followers since offering the service, the library’s services coordinator Michelle Ray told TheWrap.

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SiriusXM Creates Content Team at Pandora Media Following $3.5 Billion Acquisition

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Satellite radio company SiriusXM announced the creation of a Pandora Media content team Wednesday morning.

Led by SiriusXM chief content officer Scott Greenstein, the new team will be focused on creating original audio content in music, sports and talk that will range across comedy, politics and entertainment for Pandora listeners. The team will also develop original Pandora content for the SiriusXM audience.

SiriusXM did not respond to a request to comment on specific details about the content that will come out of the new division.

Greenstein’s team includes Pandora’s VP of content and programming Alex White, Pandora VP of label relations Jeff Zuchowski, Pandora’s VP of editorial content Bill Crandall, and Lindsay Bowen, Pandora’s head of podcasts and entertainment content partnerships.

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“Creating a dedicated team of talented and forward-thinking people is the first step in delivering great content that drives usage and engagement on Pandora,” Greenstein said in a statement. “For more than a decade and a half at SiriusXM, we’ve created ground-breaking and compelling content, constantly refreshing and evolving an exclusive programming lineup that has drawn tens of millions of subscribers nationwide. I am very excited to engage in the collaborative work ahead to create great new content for both the Pandora and SiriusXM audiences.”

Greenstein will continue to lead all of SiriusXM’s programming including commercial-free music, sports, news, comedy, talk and entertainment, on SiriusXM’s satellite and streaming platforms.

Also Read: Sirius XM’s Stock Drops and Pandora’s Pops After $3.5 Billion Merger Announcement

The creation of the new content team comes approximately five months after SiriusXM acquired Pandora in a deal valued at $3.5 billion. The newly joined company has roughly 40 million global audio subscribers, according to TheStreet.

“The addition of Pandora diversifies SiriusXM’s revenue streams with the U.S.’s largest ad-supported audio offering, broadens our technical capabilities, and represents an exciting next step in our efforts to expand our reach out of the car even further,” Sirius XM CEO Jim Meyer said in a statement at the time of the acquisition.

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Hillary Clinton Won’t Be President, But Will Be Queen of ‘Mean Girls’ GIFs

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Hillary Clinton says she won’t run for president in 2020, but if she changes her mind, expect to see “Mean Girls” character Regina George on her list of prospective running mates.

Clinton enlisted Rachel McAdams’ character from the 2004 Tina Fey film to clap back at President Trump’s gloating over her decision not to run again.

“‘(Crooked) Hillary Clinton confirms she will not run in 2020, rules out a third bid for White House,’” the president tweeted.  “Aw-shucks, does that mean I won’t get to run against her again? She will be sorely missed!”

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Clinton responded with a GIF from “Mean Girls” in which Regina asks Lizzy Caplan’s Janis why she’s so obsessed with her.

The tweet has garnered more than 16,000 retweets and 63,000 likes as of this writing.

No word on whether the former secretary of state will weigh in on trying to make “fetch” happen.

Clinton was widely expected to win the 2016 presidential race. But her campaign was dragged by accusations that she mishandled classified information by using a private email server during her time as secretary of state.

Trump ended up beating Clinton, winning 307 out of the required 270 electoral votes compared to Clinton’s 232 electoral votes.

Clinton did however win the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. She had run for president before in 2008 against then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who went on to win the election.

pic.twitter.com/nK9t5Voc6K

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 5, 2019

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Jessica Chastain Says ‘IT: Chapter Two’ Has Bloodiest Scene in Horror Film History (Video)

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Jessica Chastain revealed quite the spoiler during her appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” about her upcoming film, “IT: Chapter Two” — that it has a scene that might have the most blood in the history of horror films.

“OK, I’m going to say something, and I think I’m going to be in trouble, but I’m going to do it,” Chastain said on Wednesday’s late-night show. “It might be a spoiler. But in the movie, there’s a scene that someone said on set that it’s the most blood that’s ever been in a horror film in a scene. And I’ll tell you, the next day I was like pulling blood out of my eyeballs. Fake blood.”

Really? Bloodier than “Suspiria,” “Carrie” or “The Shining?”

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“IT: Chapter Two” takes place 27 years after the events of last year’s monster hit, as the members of the “Losers Club” have all grown up and moved out of Derry… until a devastating phone call brings them back.

Bill Skarsgard will return as Pennywise the Clown. Other cast members include Bill Hader (Richie Tozier), James McAvoy (Bill Denbrough), Jay Ryan (Ben Hanscom), James Ransone (Eddie Kaspbrak), Isaiah Mustafa (Mike Hanlon) and Andy Bean (Stanley Uris).

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“IT” grossed $327.5 million in the U.S. and Canada in 2017, and $700.4 million worldwide, on a $35 million production budget. The film had the No. 1 opening weekend for a fall release, and was 2017’s No. 7 highest-grossing movie.

“IT: Chapter Two” will hit theaters on Sept. 6.

Watch the video above.

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All 35 DreamWorks Animation Movies Ranked From Worst to Best (Photos)

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Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce Lose Sight of Reality in First Trailer for Terry Gilliam’s ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ (Video)

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Screen Media finally released a trailer Monday for Terry Gilliam’s long-delayed film, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” a passion project that has taken the director nearly two decades to get to the screen.

The film stars Jonathan Pryce as the title character alongside Adam Driver, Stellan Skarsgård, Olga Kurylenko and Jordi Mollà. Driver plays a frustrated filmmaker and disillusioned advertising executive who becomes pulled into a world of time-jumping fantasy when a Spanish cobbler (Pryce) who believes he is Don Quixote mistakes Toby for his trusted squire Sancho Panza. Pulled further into the cobbler’s world, Toby gradually becomes unable to tell his dreams from reality.

In 2018, Gilliam lost a legal dispute when a French court ruled that he would have to pay one of the film’s former producer, Paulo Branco, €10,000 ($11,600) for breach of contract. Branco also sought an injunction to prevent “Don Quixote” from being released and from premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, though he was denied that request.

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Despite that clash that nearly blocked the completed film from screening, Gilliam’s project finally made its premiere as the closing night film at last year’s Cannes Film Festival in May. But even before it screened, Amazon Studios dropped its planned U.S. distribution of the film.

This is all just the cherry on top of what has historically been one of the most plagued film productions ever, dating all the way back to the late ’90s and including everything from on-set injuries, flash floods, cast changes and even more lawsuits. You can read all about the film’s storied production history here.

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Directed and written by Gilliam, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” is co-written by Tony Grisoni and produced by Mariela Besuievsky, Amy Gilliam, Gerardo Herrero and Gregoire Melin.

Watch the video above.

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Lily Collins Joins Simon Pegg in Vaughn Stein’s Thriller ‘Inheritance’

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Lily Collins has joined Simon Pegg in Vaughn Stein’s high-stakes thriller “Inheritance,” Highland Film Group announced on Wednesday.

Stein is fresh off his noir-thriller, “Terminal,” which also starred Pegg and Margot Robbie. Highland Film Group previously partnered with Stein on the project as well.

Matthew Kennedy is writing the script for “Inheritance,” while Richard B. Lewis is producing through his Southpaw Entertainment banner alongside David Wulf. UTA and Highland Film Group are co-repping the U.S. rights, while Highland will handle foreign sales at Berlin’s EFM this week.

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“Inheritance” is about a patriarch of a wealthy family who suddenly passes away and leaves his wife and daughter with a shocking secret inheritance that could destroy their lives.

Collins currently stars in BBC’s television adaptation of “Les Misérables” alongside David Oyelowo and Dominic West. She will next be seen in the Ted Bundy thriller “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” which premiered at Sundance last month, as well as Fox Searchlight’s “Tolkien.” Past credits include “To the Bone,” “Okja,” “Mirror Mirror” and “Rules Don’t Apply.”

She is represented by CAA, LBI Entertainment and Definition Entertainment.

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Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham Boycotts Have Cost Their Fox News Shows Millions, Data Shows (Exclusive)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Laura Ingraham’s remarks about Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg and Tucker Carlson’s comments on immigration have come at a heavy cost for their Fox News shows, which have lost millions in ad revenue, according to new data provided to TheWrap.

According to an analysis for TheWrap by advertising data firm Standard Media Index, Fox News’ 10 p.m. slot, hosted by Ingraham, was down at least $16 million in ad revenue in 2018. Carlson’s show, which airs at 8 p.m., has lost another $2.2 million thanks to an ad boycott that began in December after he said mass immigration makes the U.S. “poorer, and dirtier, and more divided.”

That’s a total loss of more than $18 million — though not all of the loss can be blamed directly on the boycotts, for reasons we’ll detail below. The boycotts — fueled by liberal activists — haven’t led to a major financial hit for Fox News so far. The company earned $805 million in ad revenue in 2018, according to Standard Media Index, which uses media companies’ invoices to calculate revenues.

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The ad losses have forced  both “The Ingraham Angle” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to fill their commercial breaks with unpaid station promos. On Monday evening, Sun Basket Meals became the latest sponsor to pull its ads from the Carlson’s show.

Fox News disputed that it has lost any revenue from the boycotts and said that some advertisers are returning after previously pulling out as sponsors.

“Advertisers have started to return and this period is not representative of the status quo in commercial loads for the industry as virtually every network runs a lighter commercial load during the first two weeks of the year,” Marianne Gambelli, Fox News president of ad sales, told TheWrap in a statement. “No revenue was lost as inventory has been shifted to other dayparts and we are on track to deliver a record year in ad sales.”

While Carlson’s numbers are only for recent weeks, since he made his remarks in mid-December, the Ingraham numbers aren’t just for the “first two weeks of the year” — her troubles began in March 2018.

Here are breakdowns for both shows, based on research conducted by Standard Media Index at the request of TheWrap.

THE INGRAHAM ANGLE

On March 28, 2018, Laura Ingraham mocked Hogg, a Parkland shooting survivor turned gun-control activist, saying in a tweet that he “whines about” being rejected by several colleges. Hogg (who eventually got into Harvard) called for his followers to boycott Ingraham’s advertisers, and at least 27 of them dropped her show.

SMI’s numbers show that:

-In April 2018, her show’s ad revenue was down $3.2 million from the ad revenue for the 10 p.m. hour in April 2017, when Sean Hannity occupied the timeslot — a 56 percent drop.

-In May 2018, ad revenue was down $2.2 million from “Hannity” in May 2017 — a 34 percent drop.

-In June 2018, ad revenue was down $875,000, or a 19 percent drop from June 2017.

In late June 2018, Hogg renewed his call for a boycott after Ingraham compared child-detention facilities for refugees along the U.S. border to “summer camps.” Revenues for  the 10 p.m. hour took another big dive in July 2019, dropping $1.7 million, or about 47 percent, from July 2017, according to SMI’s numbers.

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While the show did slightly better in the fall, “The Ingraham Angle” has seen double-digit losses compared to the previous year for every month since the boycott began in March.

Ingraham replaced Hannity in Fox News’ 10 p.m. hour in October 2017, and Hannity moved to the more prominent 9 p.m. hour.

It’s possible some of the some of the drop-off is attributable to Ingraham being less of a draw than Hannity, one of Fox News‘ most bankable stars. But that doesn’t explain the entire drop-off.

Ingraham premiered on Oct. 30, 2017, which means we have an apples-to-apples (or rather, Ingraham-to-Ingraham) comparison between the last two months of 2017 and the last two months of 2018.

She was down $2.2 million from November 2017 to November 2018 — a 38 percent drop — and down $1.75 million from December 2017 to December 2018 — a 33 percent drop.

Here’s a chart:

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TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT

On Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, Carlson opined about “an endless chain of migrant caravans” making “our own country poorer, and dirtier, and more divided.” On the episode in which he made those remarks, his show pulled in an impressive $493,000 in ad revenue, according to SMI.

But the effects were almost immediate. By the following Tuesday, Carlson’s ad revenue had plummeted to $92,000, according to SMI. Revenues have not completely bounced back: They have ranged between $79,000 and $236,000 a night for the month of December.

The total impact: “Tucker Carlson Tonight” earned $4.5 million in ad revenue in December 2018, down from $6.7 million in December 2017.

Here’s another chart:

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COMMERCIAL BREAKS

How has Fox News filled all the advertising slots on Carlson and Ingraham’s shows? With self-promotion. A separate analysis from SMI — by data company Samba TV — shows the extent to which Fox News has advertised Fox News during Carlson and Ingraham’s shows.

Ingraham’s show featured 143 advertisers in the two weeks before advertisers began boycotting her show. The number dropped to 86 advertisers in the two weeks following the boycott and has not bounced back since. In the first two weeks of 2019 —  nearly 10 months after the boycott began — “The Ingraham Angle” had a total of 98 advertisers, the data shows — a 31 percent decline.

During the two weeks before her boycott, “The Ingraham Angle” aired a total of 24 station promos, Samba’s analysis shows. That number nearly doubled during the two weeks after boycott — with 44 station promos.  In the first two weeks of 2019, Ingraham aired 38 Fox News promos.

During the two weeks before the boycott, Carlson’s show aired 625 total commercial spots. In the two weeks after, that number dropped 18.6 percent, to 509 commercials, according to Samba. During the first two weeks of January, the show featured 361 commercial spots, nearly half as many as it did before the boycott began.

Carlson, who aired 34 station promos in the two weeks before the boycott, had 91 station promos in the two weeks following the boycott. In the first two weeks of 2019, the show aired a total of 78 Fox News promos.

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MEDIA MATTERS

Media Matters for America fueled calls for customers to boycott companies that advertise on Carlson and Ingraham’s shows. Its website urges visitors, “Tell advertisers to stop sponsoring Fox News.”

MMFA president Angelo Carusone said that he believed SMI’s calculations of the Carlson and Ingraham ad losses were “extraordinarily conservative.”

“I think they are significantly more devastating than that,” Carusone told TheWrap. “What it doesn’t capture is all the lost business that they would have gotten and what happens to the ad rates going forward.”

Fox News, Carusone said, may be in for a rude awakening in May, when broadcasters gather in New York to preview their programming for the upcoming TV season.

“To me the questions is not so much, ‘What is happening to the prices now?’ But come May, what will happen?” Carusone said. “They’re heading head-first into a buzzsaw.”

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A COMEBACK?

Advertiser boycotts such as the ones against Carlson and Ingraham might seem likely to fizzle as anger over incendiary comments starts to dissipate and people move on to the next story.

Ingraham and Carlson have both enjoyed strong ratings despite the sponsor boycotts — but their advertisers have been slow to return.

“Things could be better for Fox News and their advertisers,” Brad Adgate, a former advertising executive and media analyst, told TheWrap. “The revenue for two of their three weeknight primetime shows is down significantly and there is still no turnaround.”

It’s unclear just how much money the network actually lost over the boycotts, as most ad time is purchased well in advance. Fox News also makes a bulk of its profits through licensing fees from cable-system operators.

But Adgate questioned the network’s assertion that it did not lose any money.

“If you’re moving an advertiser from primetime to a lower rated daypart, such as daytime programming, you’re going to need more commercials to make up for the audience guarantee,” he said. “They’re losing money because suddenly they can’t sell the daytime show because they have all these units from primetime, and they can’t sell the inventory in primetime because advertisers don’t want to be on those shows.”

Adgate said the boycotts constituted a “yellow alert, not a red alert,” at least for now.

While SMI said Fox News earned more than $805 million in ad revenue in 2018, research firm SNL Kagan offers a higher number: It estimates Fox News generated $1.02 billion in ad revenue and $1.6 billion in gross profits in 2018, a record year for the network.

“It’s not going to be a big blow for them,” a media buyer at a large agency told TheWrap. The individual asked not to be named because he was not authorized to talk to the media. “From a revenue standpoint, it’s really a drop in the bucket for these guys.”

Also Read: Laura Ingraham Says Media Manipulates Public on Shutdown With ‘Sob Stories of Government Workers’

WILL THEY KEEP THEIR JOBS?

The fact that Carlson and Ingraham remain on the air is the most powerful illustration of the company’s commitment to them. 

It’s not great,” Adgate said. “But the fact that advertisers haven’t come back in nine months and they haven’t been fired clearly shows Fox News can deal with that.”

One argument for keeping them around: ratings.

Viewership in “The Ingraham Angle” actually improved after the boycott, rising in both overall viewers and in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 year-old demographic. Just six weeks after the boycott began, Ingraham netted an average of 2.656 million viewers nightly, with roughly 553,000 in the key demo, up from 2.284 million total and 471,000 demo viewers in the six weeks before the boycott began. Her ratings were slightly down by the end of the year, with 2.518 million total viewers and 467,000 in the demo for the fourth quarter of 2018.

Carlson, on the other hand, has dominated the 8 p.m. hour across the board, drawing 2.822 million total viewers and 528,000 for the coveted 25-54 year-old demo for the fourth quarter of 2018.

January ratings held strong for both shows, with Carlson drawing 2.8 million total viewers, and 509,000 from the news demo. Ingraham came in second in total viewers behind MSNBC and third in the coveted 25-54 demo behind both MSNBC and CNN, scoring 2.26 million total viewers and 415,000 from the demo.

Tony Maglio contributed to this report.

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‘Miss Bala’ Director Catherine Hardwicke on How Gina Rodriguez’s Heroine Is Symbol of ‘Female Empowerment’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Miss Bala” director Catherine Hardwicke was ready to show Mexico in a different light and portray a female character that was both a badass and could be the quiet girl next door – and that’s what she got in her new movie starring Gina Rodriguez. As Hardwicke puts it, all in the “agency of female empowerment.”

“Miss Bala” is based on the 2011 Mexican film of the same name and is set at the U.S.-Mexico border. It follows Gloria (Rodriguez) who must take matters into her own hands when her friend is kidnapped in Tijuana.

“The original character is very passive — she doesn’t do anything active to save herself and many bad things happen to her,” Hardwicke said in an interview with TheWrap. “We made a bigger effort to show Gloria with agency and trying to figure out how to save herself… I’ve always loved Mexico, I’ve always loved the culture and that fertile mix of two cultures along a border. All these combinations I got excited about, and I thought, let’s do a re-imagination of the story and identity. I got excited to show Mexico in a different way.”

Also Read: ‘Miss Bala’ Film Review: Gina Rodriguez Remake Misses the Target

For Hardwicke, Gloria represents female empowerment, who must discover her strength and skills in the midst of a crisis.

“One thing we were really interested in doing was making her feel really grounded,” she explained. “A real girl that could be your best friend — she’s your makeup artist, she takes yoga classes, but she hasn’t been trained as a Navy SEAL. These women are just super badasses, but we still wanted to make it feel like she is an ordinary girl.”

On a personal note, Hardwicke is pleased with the progress she’s seen in the hiring of more female directors, but adds that they still have a long way to go.

“There are certain barriers to break down in terms of a male actor to be directed by a woman,” she said. “Jack Nicholson was directed by a woman in ‘What Women Want,’ Brad Pitt had his wife Angelina Jolie direct him in a movie, but there are not too many times when men are at the top of their game and they are being directed by a woman.”

See Video: Gina Rodriguez Plays a Dangerous Game in First ‘Miss Bala’ Trailer

“Miss Bala” also stars Ismael Cruz Cordova and Anthony Mackie, and hit theaters last Friday. It grossed $6.8 million its opening weekend.

See below for TheWrap’s Q&A with Hardwicke.

Why remake the 2011 film? What drew you to the story?

I had not seen the 2011 movie, and [producers] Pablo Cruz and Kevin Misher, they had the idea. This movie has a kernel of something that could be opened up and made more accessible to more people. It was Mexico-centric, and it was made at a time where they were symbolically showing the violence in Mexico. The original character is very passive — she doesn’t do anything active to save herself and many bad things happen to her.

Then there was the idea that the characters lived on both sides of the border, and they didn’t feel Gringo enough to feel fully accepted in America, but they weren’t fluent enough in Spanish to be Mexican. A lot of people now straddle that moment in time: the identity crisis. Who am I? Where do I fit in? My Vietnamese dentist told me she went back to Vietnam to visit but doesn’t speak the language and doesn’t feel accepted there or here. We made a bigger effort to show Gloria with agency and trying to figure out how to save herself. I’ve always loved Mexico, I’ve always loved the culture and that fertile mix of two cultures along a border. All these combinations I got excited about, and I thought, let’s do a re-imagination of the story and identity. I got excited to show Mexico in a different way.

Any drug cartel movie is difficult to pull off. What were your biggest challenges?

We weren’t trying to imitate an existing cartel. We did various amounts of research about new generations and other people getting into it with all the difficulties they had in their life. We created this new cartel for Tijuana. Tijuana is the busiest, biggest border in the world — more people cross that border every day. It’s a very vibrant and intense place to be. That was interesting… that was maybe in some ways less dangerous territory than if we were trying to imitate a real cartel leader.

What was the hardest/most fun scene to shoot?

That shoot-out scene was fun and intense. It was one of my favorite scenes, and we started on it Day One. Everyone was like, “are you crazy?” I just knew I’d be able to plan it out better. That’s actually filmed right next to the U.S. border and you see the border wall. I went there and I was like, wow, this is cool. It had this western feeling — dusty and everything. I got out my miniature cars, we went to the location, I planned it out like a military strategy. I was in my war room figuring it out, but then we also went to the real location and we would have rental cars and the stunt guy would be pretending to be the sniper. The pre-visualization was awesome. At one point, we needed five extra drivers so we asked the rental car drivers, “Do you guys want to be in an action scene?” They played the parts of all the drivers. Everyone got into it and helped me figure it out.

That one was the most fun because we got to blow up cars and crazy things happened. A real police chase came right through the set, so that was three extra cop cars we didn’t have in our budget. They were the real cops trying to shut us down. Another location that was fun was the Valle de Guadalupe, the red rocks in wine country in Baja that had that modern glass building — that was a beautiful location.

What do you think Gloria represents for women?

One thing we were really interested in doing was making her feel really grounded. A real girl that could be your best friend — she’s your makeup artist, she takes yoga classes, but she hasn’t been trained as a Navy SEAL. These women are just super badasses, but we still wanted to make it feel like she is an ordinary girl. We wanted to make you ask yourself, how would it feel for you in this instance when you had to show some way to save your friend and use your own wits and skills that you have to get out? Anything that Gloria was going to do, we were like, “Could we do that? Could we run across that lot in a rain of bullets?” The idea was that she found a depth of strength and character that she never knew she had. She was basically a double agent. That was kind of interesting, that she was really finding her power, all in the agency of female empowerment.

Also Read: Catherine Hardwicke to Direct ‘Miss Bala’ Remake for Sony

How do you feel about female directors once again being shut out from the Oscar nominations?

I think we knew it going into the nominations, because none of the female-directed movies were getting the push, the money, the buzz, the lightning in a bottle, the marketing campaign. There is still looking at this, asking, why? When will it change? When will women have the chance to get better material, opportunities to work with bigger actors, bigger budgets? When a wonderful movie like “Leave No Trace” came out, it didn’t have an Oscar campaign. How can they be supportive when a wonderful movie does come out?

People have been trying to be more progressive about hiring female directors. Do you think we’re actually seeing progress?

It’s a leaky pipeline that we’ve been talking about. Every year, Sundance and other festivals have been very progressive about actively making sure there are more female-directed movies and diverse stories. That’s great, but the leaky pipeline is: what happens after these festivals? A lot of studies have shown this — if a movie directed by a woman or a man does well at Sundance, a majority of male-directed movies get more marketing budgets, get seen by more people, and they are perceived more successful.

You’ve done so many movies and shows in your career — is there an idea you haven’t been able to play with yet?

There have been a lot of situations where there are still a lot of barriers to break, like beautiful literary properties, valuable IP that would help get people into theaters, novels, things that already have a want-to-see factor built in. Those are important things for women to be invited to direct. We’re seeing step-by-step that things are happening. [“Wonder Woman” director] Patty Jenkins did a great job, for example. There are certain barriers to break down in terms of a male actor to be directed by a woman. How do you break down that barrier? We were trying to think about that the other day. Jack Nicholson was directed by a woman in “What Women Want,” Brad Pitt had his wife Angelina Jolie direct him in a movie, but there are not too many times when men are at the top of their game and they are being directed by a woman. Hopefully the world is opening up, and people are opening to possibilities. Fingers crossed.

Is there anything else you want to say in regards to “Miss Bala?”

I do want to embrace Sony’s awesomeness. The movie is starring a Latina as an action hero and the movie has almost an all Latinx cast and crew. And a woman director, an African-American woman as our editor, and a lot of cool game-changing elements. There’s a lot of gender balance and diversity.

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Sundance’s Haves and Have Nots: Can Traditional Indie Distributors Still Compete?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Sundance 2019 brought into sharp focus the two-tiered reality that now dominates the world of independent content.

It’s a story of the haves and the have-nots.

The haves are those giant tech-based companies like Netflix, Amazon and Apple that can plunk down many millions of dollars on a movie they like without a second thought.

Also Read: Sundance 2019: Every Movie Sold So Far, From ‘Late Night’ to ‘The Farewell’ (Updating)

The have-nots are everybody else — scrappy distributors who still do the Old Math: adding up the P&A costs, the ancillary rights like TV and international and, um, airlines to figure out how to protect their downside and maybe make a profit.

But there’s no such old-style nonsense for the tech giants — and Amazon is the colossus of choice at this year’s Sundance, blithely buying multiple movies for $15 million without so much as entering a bidding war. Who does that? (Netflix, which wasn’t in the game this year.)

“Late Night,” the broad comedy by Mindy Kaling and co-starring Emma Thompson, went to Amazon for $13 million on Day One of the festival. “The Report,” a gripping drama about the Senate investigation into U.S. torture after 9/11, went to the streamer for $14 million.  And by week’s end Amazon went after a comedy titled “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” starring Jillian Bell, buying it for $14 million.

There isn’t math behind these sales that make any particular sense, despite the fact that the tech giants are supposedly driven by data, according to a number of individuals in the know. Amazon is looking for subscribers to its Prime service, and needs a credible lineup of entertainment to compete with the crushing volume of original content now coming from Netflix. (Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

Also Read: Sundance Shocker: Big-Money Acquisitions Take Indie Film Market by Surprise

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos is capable of spending anything he needs to compete in the entertainment space, having just reported yet another behemoth quarterly earnings triumph.

That leaves the second-tier of buyers to compete over the rest. The noble task of finding movies, buying them at a price and then marketing them to (hopefully) success is left to the likes of Sony Pictures Classics, which bought a David Crosby documentary by producer Cameron Crowe.

Or the taste-making indie distributor A24, which bought a Tilda Swinton starrer “The Souvenir.” Or The Orchard (now known as 1091 Media — but why? please change the name back), which bought Frédéric Tcheng’s documentary “Halston.”

IFC acquired U.S. rights to “The Nightingale,” the latest film from Jennifer Kent, the Australian director of “The Babadook.”

Scrappy Neon, which has shown distinctive taste in choosing movies in the last few years, was probably the most aggressive indie in the “have-not” space, punching above its weight to buy a number of films.

One agent I spoke to who sold a number of films disputed this thesis, saying that a couple of films went to traditional distributors over the streamers — including Netflix — who wanted to pay more.

“What the streamers can often offer is greater or more immediate reach to consumers, which sometimes make sense for that particular film,” said Rena Ronson, co-head of UTA’s  Independent Film Group. “So a lot has to do with knowing your film and making the right choice not just financially, but creatively and strategically.”

But many other distributors I talked to were coldly realistic about their chances to nab the buzziest movies premiering at the festival.

Also Read: Neon Acquires Naomi Watts’ Sundance Film ‘Luce’ in Partnership With Topic Studios

“We’re buying what we can,” said the head of one art-house distribution company. Most of the second-tier sales did not announce the prices in their news releases, a sure sign that the figures were modest.

Notably absent from the buying activities (at least at time of publication) were more traditional art-house studios based at the majors like Focus Features and Fox Searchlight. (Weirdly, WarnerMedia’s New Line stepped up to by Gurinder Chadha’s ’80s-set teen movie “Blinded by the Light” for $15 million).

This makes for a strange dynamic in the indie space, especially since many of the tech giants have now hired veteran executives who are used to competing in the scrappier world.

But then — why should the world of indie film be any different than the rest of the country?

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Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

This year’s Sundance Film Festival is already shaping up to be a stronger acquisition market than last year’s, with several films already having been sold, including Mindy Kaling’s “Late Night” for a whopping $13 million.

The buzzy Richard Wright adaptation “Native Son” was sold to HBO films before it even premiered on Thursday night. Several movies were sold ahead of the festival as well, including Tilda Swinton’s “The Souvenir” and Ryan White’s documentary “Ask Dr. Ruth.”

Several sales agents and buyers predicted a healthy and stable marketplace this year after last year’s somewhat slower festival.

Also Read: Amazon Nabs Mindy Kaling, Emma Thompson Comedy ‘Late Night’ for $13 Million

Several buzzy films are still up for sale, including Awkwafina’s “The Farewell,” Shia LaBeouf’s “Honey Boy” and Julianne Moore’s “After the Wedding.”

Bidding wars have been scarce so far this year. “Buyers are savvy and generally are paying what they think is necessary to make a deal happen while also fitting their individual business model,” one insider said. “I don’t expect there will be more than one or two legitimate bidding wars but I do expect it will be an active market given the number of players in the space looking for content.”

Here are the Sundance entries that have signed new distribution deals so far in Park City:

“Late Night”

The first big festival acquisition was Mindy Kaling’s “Late Night,” which sold to Amazon Studios for $13 million just shortly after its premiere on Friday night. The film received loud claps and laughs, and many audience members had called it the first commercial hit of this year’s festival.

Nisha Ganatra directed the film that also stars Emma Thompson and John Lithgow. Kaling wrote, produced and starred in the film that follows a legendary late night talk show host (Thompson).

“Native Son”

Ahead of the Thursday night premiere of “Native Son,” HBO Films bought the rights to Rashid Johnson’s modern re-imagining of Richard Wright’s seminal novel, about a young African-American man named Bigger Thomas (Ashton Sanders) who takes a job working for a highly influential Chicago family, a decision that will change the course of his life forever.

Margaret Qualley, Nick Robinson, KiKi Layne, Elizabeth Marvel, David Alan Grier, Sanaa Lathan and Bill Camp also star.

Also Read: ‘The Farewell’ Film Review: Awkwafina Shows Range in Rich Intergenerational Drama

“Ask Dr. Ruth”

Hulu picked up the rights to the “Ask Dr. Ruth” documentary well ahead of the festival.

Directed by Ryan White (“The Keepers,” “The Case Against 8”), “Ask Dr. Ruth” chronicles the life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor who became America’s most famous sex therapist. With her diminutive frame, thick German accent and uninhibited approach to sex therapy and education, Dr. Ruth transformed the conversation around sexuality. As she approaches her 90th birthday and shows no signs of slowing down, the documentary follows Dr. Ruth as she revisits her painful past and unlikely path to a career at the forefront of the sexual revolution.

“The Tomorrow Man”

Bleecker Street acquired the North American rights to Noble Jones’ debut feature “The Tomorrow Man” a week before the festival.

John Lithgow and Blythe Danner star in the romantic film, which is slated for release on May 19 after its Sundance premiere on Jan. 30.

The film follows Ed (Lithgow), who spends his life preparing for a disaster that might never come, while Ronnie (Danner) shops for things she might not need. The two try to find love while trying not to get lost.

“The Nightingale”

In January, IFC Films acquired the U.S. rights to “The Nightingale,” the latest film from Jennifer Kent, the Australian director of “The Babadook.”

IFC Films is re-teaming with Kent after distributing “The Babadook” in 2014. That horror film made $10.3 million worldwide. IFC is planning a summer release for “The Nightingale,” which first premiered at the 2018 Venice International Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize, as well as the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Performer for Baykali Ganambarr.

Also Read: Michael Jackson’s Estate Calls ‘Leaving Neverland’ Documentary ‘Tabloid Character Assassination’

“The Souvenir”

In December, Tilda Swinton’s “The Souvenir” was picked up by A24. Martin Scorsese executive produces the film that also stars Honor Swinton-Byrne and Tom Burke. A24 will release the film theatrically in 2019 and acquired it from Protagonist Pictures and 30WEST.

“The Souvenir” follows a quiet film student (Swinton Byrne) who begins to find her voice as an artist while navigating a turbulent courtship with a charismatic but untrustworthy man (Burke). She defies her protective mother (Swinton) and concerned friends as she slips deeper and deeper into an intense, emotionally fraught relationship that comes dangerously close to destroying her dreams.

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Ann Coulter Calls Trump the ‘Biggest Wimp’ in Presidential History After Shutdown Ends

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter had criticism of a historic nature for President Trump on Friday after he announced a deal to reopen the government for three weeks without funding for the border wall.

“Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States,” Coulter tweeted.

Coulter has consistently urged Trump not reopen the government without securing funding for the wall he wants to build on the U.S.-Mexico border. Last month she vowed not to vote for Trump again in 2020 unless the wall is built.

Also Read: Trump and Congress Reach Short-Term Deal to End Government Shutdown

Coulter’s tweet came shortly after Trump announced a short-term deal with Congress to end the partial government shutdown.

“I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump said.

The government will reopen for three weeks, until Feb. 15, while negotiations continue over Trump’s desire to build a wall on the southern border continue.

“After 36 days of spirited debate and dialogue, I have seen and heard from enough Democrats and Republicans that they are willing to partisanship aside, I think, and put the security of the American people first,” Trump said.

The government shut down began in December, while Republicans still controlled both houses of Congress, after Trump refused to sign a budget that didn’t include funding for the border wall. After Democrats took over in the House of Representatives, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to bring any further budget bills up for a vote. Trump sought to blame Democrats for the shutdown, but the ploy didn’t work because he took credit for it during a televised meeting with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in December.

The shutdown was ended on Friday after airports in New York and Florida halted flights due to staffing shortages as TSA agents, who were working without pay, called in sick.

Also Read: Trump Unfollows Ann Coulter on Twitter After Months of Border Wall Criticism

Coulter wasn’t the only conservative voice blasting the president for his decision to reopen the government.

The Daily Caller‘s homepage proclaimed in all caps: “TRUMP CAVES: President Will Temporarily Reopen Government With Zero Funding For The Wall.”

Erick Erickson wrote: “After keeping the government shut for a month, the President has caved to the Democrats. He will reopen the government, having gotten nothing but falling polling numbers.”

And Drudge Report ran with the banner headline, also in all caps: “WALLED IN.”

Also Read: Mike Huckabee: If Ann Coulter Thinks She Can Do Better Than Trump, ‘Let Her Run for Office’

The president’s had reached an all-time low across most recent polls, including the reliably Trump-friendly Rasmussen Report. Polls also indicated that more American voters blamed Trump for the shutdown than they did Democrats.

Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.

— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 25, 2019

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SXSW 2019: Olivia Wilde, A$AP Rocky and Jeffrey Katzenberg Among Featured and Keynote Speakers

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

South by Southwest Conference and Festivals has announced new keynote and featured speakers for the 2019 event, which will include A$AP Rocky, Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and singer David Crosby.

Actress Pamela Adlon, Chairman and CEO of Vox Media Jim Bankoff, co-founder of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Priscilla Chan, Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Cameron Crowe, author Tim Ferriss, author Neil Gaiman, United States Senator Mazie Hirono, journalist Soledad O’Brien, Buzzfeed founder Jonah Peretti, Quibi CEO Meg Whitman, Bird founder Tavis VanderZanden and Henry Winkler are also among the featured speakers announced Tuesday.

“Each of the Keynote speakers announced today reflect bold and innovative talent transforming their respective industries,” Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer, said in a statement. “The breadth and diversity of the Featured Speakers make the 2019 event an even stronger and more compelling place for creatives, innovators and storytellers alike.”

Also Read: Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ to Open 2019 SXSW Film Festival

Olivia Wilde, who is attending SXSW Film Festival with her directorial debut, “Booksmart,” will also be a keynote speaker alongside newly announced Endeavor chief marketing officer Bozoma Saint John and Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger. Previously announced Keynotes include Marti Noxon, Jessica Brillhart and Joseph Lubin.

“We’ve been fortunate to have Olivia Wilde at SXSW numerous times as an actress and producer, and we’re always impressed by her talent and her intelligence,”  Janet Pierson, Director of Film, added “We could not be more excited to have her here as a Film Keynote on the eve of her outstanding directorial debut, ‘Booksmart.’”

Also Read: SXSW 2019: VR Filmmaker Jessica Brillhart Named Film Keynote Speaker

SXSW 2019 will take place from March 8 to March 17 in Austin, Texas.

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Netflix Raises Subscription Prices Nearly 20 Percent, Company Stock Jumps 6 Percent

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Netflix is increasing its subscription prices again, with the company’s Standard package bumping up 18 percent from $10.99 per month to $12.99 per month on Tuesday.

The company’s Premium plan, which includes up to four HD streams, moves from $13.99 a month to $15.99 each month, while its Basic plan increases $1 per month, hitting $8.99 each month. The new prices will impact new subscribers immediately, while existing customers will be moved to the new rates in the coming months, according to a Netflix spokesperson.

“We change pricing from time to time as we continue investing in great entertainment and improving the overall Netflix experience for the benefit of our members,” the Netflix spokesperson told TheWrap.

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Netflix’s new prices already greeted potential customers on their website on Tuesday morning:

Netflix’s new prices (via Netflix’s website)

While streamers might not love the price hike, Wall Street did, with Netflix’s stock jumping 6 percent to $353 in early-morning trading. The Los Gatos, California-based company is set to report its Q4 financials on Thursday.

The price raises, between 13 and 18 percent, reflect the biggest increases in Netflix’s history. Netflix last raised its prices in late 2017, with its Premium plan increasing about 17 percent from $11.99 to $13.99 each month at the time — its biggest increase until Tuesday. Existing Netflix customers will receive a heads up email ahead of their monthly increase, according to the Netflix spokesperson.

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The price increases will hit Netflix’s U.S. subscriber base — 58 million accounts when the company reported its Q3 earnings back in October — and Latin American and Caribbean countries where Netflix bills customers in U.S. dollars, including Barbados, Uruguay and Belize. The increases won’t hit markets like Mexico and Brazil.

Even after the hikes, Netflix’s monthly fee is still in-line with its competitors: HBO Now runs customers $15 each month, while Hulu’s ad-free streaming costs $13 per month.

Netflix will likely use its new monthly revenue — which could easily pass $100 million each month — to pay for content and offset its mounting debt. Netflix raised $2 billion in debt in late October, weeks after the company reported it had $8.3 billion in long-term debt at the end of Q3.

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Kellyanne Conway Calls Jim Acosta a ‘Smartass’ Looking for a ‘Viral’ Moment; He Gets One

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Kellyanne Conway called CNN’s Jim Acosta a “smart-ass” trying to provoke a viral moment Tuesday — and quickly went viral.

The latest tiff between Acosta and the Trump White House came when he asked Conway if she could guarantee Trump would tell the truth during his remarks on immigration Tuesday.

“Yes, Jim, and can you promise that you will?” she replied. “The whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God? Am I allowed to mention God to you?”

Also Read: Jim Acosta’s Press Credentials Restored by White House; CNN Drops Lawsuit

“I’m not the one who has the alternative facts problem like you do,” Acosta replied.

“You know that’s a cheap — make sure that goes viral,” Conway said, before telling him that such comments were one reason most people in the administration wouldn’t talk to him.

Much talking over each other followed. You can watch the video above.

The moment did go viral. CNN headlined it, “Jim Acosta presses Conway: Will Trump tell the truth?”

Or, as Fox News put it: “Kellyanne Conway embarrasses CNN’s Jim Acosta during heated exchange: ‘You’re such a smarta–‘”

Conway went on to tell Acosta that many of his colleagues don’t like him, and noted that CNN has made factual errors. (The Washington Post, meanwhile, says Trump has made 7,600 false or misleading statements during his presidency.)

Also Read: Lou Dobbs Wishes Trump Could Have Just Ignored Court Order Restoring Jim Acosta’s Press Credentials

The animosity between the Trump White House and Acosta is well known. Last year CNN went to court to get Acosta his White House press pass back after an incident in which Acosta challenged Trump’s false claim that an invasion was coming to the U.S. border, Trump called Acosta a “terrible person,” and the White House released doctored footage sped up to make it appear that Acosta had struck an intern trying to take away his mic.

Yes, all of these things actually happened.

The spat between Acosta and Conway occurred almost three weeks into a government shutdown over Trump’s insistence on funding for a border wall. The shutdown has led to airport security concerns and some prison guards commuting more than 400 miles, among other inconveniences.

Trump was scheduled to speak Tuesday night.

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Fox News Stands by Tucker Carlson Amid Advertisers’ Boycott: We Won’t Be ‘Censored’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Fox News says it will continue to stand by Tucker Carlson amid a growing advertisers’ boycott, after the host said last week that immigrants to the United States make the country “poorer” and “dirtier.”

“We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts from the likes of Moveon.org, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants,” a spokesperson for Fox News told TheWrap in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “Attempts were made last month to bully and terrorize Tucker and his family at their home. He is now once again being threatened via Twitter by far left activist groups with deeply political motives. While we do not advocate boycotts, these same groups never target other broadcasters and operate under a grossly hypocritical double standard given their intolerance to all opposing points of view.”

The statement seemed to echo the network’s Monday statement, which blamed the boycott on “left-wing advocacy groups.”

“We continue to stand by and work with our advertisers through these unfortunate and unnecessary distractions,” a network rep said.

Also Read: Tucker Carlson Dropped by at Least 14 Advertisers Over Immigration Comments

But neither statement seems to have stopped the advertiser hemorrhage.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the number of companies severing their ties with the show reached 14. Just For Men, United Explorer credit card, ScotteVest, Voya Financial, Zenni Optical, Pacific Life, Indeed, Bowflex, SmileDirectClub, NerdWallet, Minted, Ancestry.com, IHOP and Jaguar have all told TheWrap they plan to suspend advertising on the program.

The flap began when Carlson remarked on Thursday night that immigrants have made the United States “poorer and dirtier and more divided.”

Since then, he’s lost some of his biggest advertisers — starting with insurance giant Pacific Life on Friday. “One of our ads appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show last night following a segment where Mr. Carlson made a number of statements regarding immigration,” the company said in a statement posted to Twitter Friday afternoon.

“As a company, we strongly disagree with Mr. Carlson’s statements. Our customer base and our workforce reflect the diversity of our great nation, something we take great pride in. We will not be advertising on Mr. Carlson’s show in the coming week as we reevaluate our relationship with his program.”

Also Read: Tucker Carlson Says He’s ‘Not Intimidated,’ Doubles Down on Immigration Comments Amid Boycott (Video)

The boycott metastasized from there.

“We are actively working with our media buyers to confirm that SmileDirectClub is no longer running our ads around any political opinion shows,” the company told TheWrap on Monday.

Employment giant Indeed began telling customers on Twitter that they, too, hard-dropped Carlson more than a month ago, with digital retailer Minted also taking the same approach Monday and Tuesday as well.

“We have stopped all advertising with Tucker Carlson,” a spokesperson for Ancestry.com said.

Not all advertisers are pulling the plug. MyPillow inventor and CEO Mike Lindell told TheWrap in a statement Tuesday: “I am not changing my advertising. I make all of my advertising decisions based on what is best for MyPillow, my customers and my employees.”

Also Read: ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ Loses More Sponsors After ‘Dirtier’ Immigrants Comment

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca told TheWrap that the “content and opinions of the outlets, networks or websites for which we advertise are not reflective of our views or values as a company. However, as a standard practice, we regularly monitor our media programming to ensure its [sic] aligned to our corporate values. As such, we will continue to assess our advertising purchases regarding the heightened attention surrounding this matter.”

Infiniti USA declined to comment.

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‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ Loses More Sponsors After ‘Dirtier’ Immigrants Comment

Judd Apatow Calls for Expansion of Tucker Carlson Sponsor Boycott

Pacific Life Pulls Ads From ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ After He Says Immigrants Make Us ‘Poorer and Dirtier’

Violence Against Journalists Up 15 Percent in 2018, US Among Top 5 Most Dangerous Countries

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Violence against journalists rose 15 percent in 2018, according to the annual survey from Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and at least 63 professional journalists from around the world were killed doing their jobs this year. 

The U.S. is at number five (tied with India) on the list of most dangerous countries for media, with six recorded fatalities.

It is also the only fully developed country among the top 5, behind Afghanistan (which logged 15 deaths), Syria (11) and Yemen (eight). Mexico, currently in the grips of drug cartel violence had nine.

“The world’s five deadliest countries for journalists include three – India, Mexico, and for the first time the United States where journalists were killed in cold blood although these countries were not at war or in conflict,” the report noted.

Also Read: Roger Stone Admits to InfoWars Lies to Settle $100 Million Defamation Suit by Chinese Billionaire

The U.S. — which normally does not rank among the leaders of the list — found itself there this year after a shooting Maryland’s Capital Gazette newspaper left four journalists dead in June. Two other reporters from North Carolina were killed by a falling tree in May. (A fifth non-journalist was also killed at the Gazette, which was not included in the RSF count.)

The report also noted how for the first time Iraq had not reported a single journalist death since the U.S. invasion in 2003. In past years — in the grips of ISIS and Al-Qaeda bombings — the country had been one of the most dangerous reporting zones in the word.

Also Read: Time Magazine Names Jamal Khashoggi and ‘The Guardians’ as Person of the Year

“The hatred of journalists that is voiced … by unscrupulous politicians, religious leaders and businessmen has tragic consequences on the ground, and has been reflected in this disturbing increase in violations against journalists,” RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said in a statement.

The Capital Gazette newsroom was recently honored by Time Magazine in their “Person of the Year” issue along with other journalists who they said were fighting against “the war on truth.” Though the shooting was prompted by a single disgruntled man who had spent years harassing the paper, many have warned that President Trump’s ferocious anti-press rhetoric has created a more dangerous climate for reporting in the U.S.

In the last three months along, CNN’s New York headquarters had to be evacuated after bomb scares — one of which turned out to be real.

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Female-Led Films Earn More Than Movies Starring Men in the Lead, Study Finds

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Female-led films outperformed movies with male leads at the box office in the period between January 2014 and December 2017, a study researched by Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and shift7 found.

The study looked at the top-grossing U.S. films and found that female-led films outweighed male-led films on all budget levels. Films were categorized into five budget levels (under $10 million, $10 million – $30 million, $30 million – $50 million, $50 million – $100 million, and over $100 million) and further identified films that had a woman listed as its lead actor. In every budget category, films with female leads performed better at the worldwide box office.

“This is powerful proof that audiences want to see everyone represented on screen,” Amy Pascal, who leads the content-focused working group alongside shift7 CEO Megan Smith, producer Liza Chasin, Geena Davis and CAA Agent Alexandra Trustman, said.  “Decision-makers in Hollywood need to pay attention to this.”

Also Read: More Than Half of 2019 Sundance Dramatic Competition Films Have Female Directors

Davis applauded CAA and shift7 for furthering the conversation about gender balance in the industry: “I started commissioning data back in 2004, realizing there is so much unconscious bias in this space. The truth is that seeing women and girls on screen is not only good for everyone – especially our children – it’s also good entertainment and good business.”

“This analysis affirms data showing that diversity has a positive impact on a company’s bottom line,” TIME’S UP president and CEO Lisa Borders added.  “As studios consider their fiduciary responsibilities to their investors, these findings offer a clear approach to delivering the best results.”

Also Read: Director’s Guild of America Reports Increase in Female and Minority TV Directors

The research also showed that every film that grossed more than $1 billion at the global box office also passed the Bechdel Test, which tests whether a film has at least two women in it, two women speak to one another in that film and they speak about something other than a man.

“The Bechdel Test is a low bar to clear, and it’s surprising how many movies don’t clear it,” said Chasin. “Understandably, the studios think about the bottom line, so it’s great to see a growing body of data that should make it easier for executives to make more inclusive decisions.”

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‘Smoking Saw’: GOP Senators Condemn Saudi Crown Prince for Khashoggi’s Murder After Briefing

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Following a special briefing from CIA Director Gina Haspel Tuesday on the murder of Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, GOP senators said they were convinced that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the brutal killing.

“It’s not a smoking gun, it’s a smoking saw,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters, referring to the bone saw investigators believe was used to dismember the journalist dissident. “I think he’s complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi to the highest level possible.”

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, a Republican, said he had “zero question” that the crown prince, known colloquially as MBS, ordered the killing and monitored it.

Also Read: Trump Defends Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi Murder: ‘We May Never Know All of the Facts’

“If he was in front of a jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes,” Corker said.

Haspel’s briefing came about a week after Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo similarly failed to stave off outrage among leading lawmakers with their own briefing on U.S.-Saudi relations, urging them to vote down a resolution that would end support for the war against Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Senators were outraged that Haspel did not show for the meeting last week, blaming the White House for her absence and voting to advance that Yemen resolution.

Khashoggi disappeared in October after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. After denying any knowledge of his whereabouts (and insisting Khashoggi left the consulate on his own accord), the Saudi government eventually admitted that he was murdered by a team of Saudi officials with close connections to the government.

Also Read: CIA Says Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Killing of Jamal Khashoggi (Report)

The CIA concluded that the Saudi crown prince likely ordered the killing, basing their assessment on intercepted communications, according to the Washington Post.

Haspel’s closed briefing comes days before the Senate is expected to begin debating the Yemen resolution, which calls on the U.S. to withdraw its support for the Saudi’s war in Yemen.

Tuesday’s briefing was limited to the Republican chairmen and top Democrats on the Senate’s Armed Services, Foreign Relations, and Intelligence Committees and the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, which drew ire from some rank and file lawmakers, who were excluded from the meeting.

“I can’t even ask to be included in it because I didn’t know it was going to happen, except for reading about it in the media,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said. “That’s not the way it should be.”

The vote on the Yemen resolution could come as early as Thursday and is expected to pass.

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Canadian Officials Have Heard Tape of Jamal Khashoggi Murder, Justin Trudeau Says

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Turkish President Calls Khashoggi Death ‘Premeditated Murder,’ Challenging Saudi Account

Edward Norton, Alan Alda, Mariska Hargitay Join Nat Geo’s 6-City ‘Paris to Pittsburgh’ Screening Blitz (Exclusive)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Activists and environmentally conscience celebrities, including Edward Norton, Alan Alda and Mariska Hargitay, will join former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg this week for a special nationwide screening blitz of Nat Geo’s environmental documentary “Paris to Pittsburgh,” TheWrap has learned exclusively.

Six U.S. cities will simultaneously screen the film Monday night — many with their mayors introducing the film — in an effort to shine a light on the need for cities, states and citizens to come together to fight climate change. Charleston, Des Moines, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York and Orlando will get a sneak peek at the doc ahead of its global release on Dec. 12 at 9pm ET/PT on National Geographic, with additional screenings scheduled in Puerto Rico, London and Poland.

“With Washington asleep at the switch, local governments, states, businesses, and citizens from across the political spectrum are taking steps to tackle climate change and build a bright future for our country,” Bloomberg, who produced the movie through his Bloomberg Philanthropies, said in a statement. “We need more leadership from Washington on climate change, but Americans aren’t waiting around for it.”

Also Read: Pittsburgh Mayor Pounds Trump for Climate Claim He Backs ‘Pittsburgh, Not Paris’

Other attendees expected to attend: Peter Hermann, Walt Disney Chairman and NRDC Board Chair Alan Horn, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Zero Hour’s Iris Fen Gillingham and Jamie Margolin, Katherine Oliver, Joe Berlinger, Emmy Award winning directors Michael Bonfiglio and Sidney Beaumont, Radical Media’s Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma, among others.

The announcement comes on the heels of a federal climate change report last month focusing on the dire threat that human-made global warming poses to the United States. It also comes as world leaders are heading to Poland on Dec. 3 for the COP24 to try and salvage the 2015 climate change Paris Accord, after President Trump reneged on the deal last summer.

Also Read: Al Gore and Bill Maher Talk Climate Change and ‘Losing Florida’ – in Both Senses (Video)

“Paris to Pittsburgh” looks at how states, businesses and citizens are taking action and delve into the social and economic impacts of climate change in the wake of the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.

The premise of the documentary is based on a Twitter response from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to President Trump the moment he pulled out of the Paris Agreement.

In his speech announcing the U.S. would withdrawal from the agreement, President Trump said in a press conference last June that he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

“I’m sitting in this room, I’m looking over at my phone and I get an alert,” Peduto says in an exclusive clip of the doc obtained by TheWrap. “Read it twice, went into my chief of staff office and yelled, ‘Pittsburgh?!’”

Peduto said that’s when he composed his now famous response telling the president that Pittsburgh was going to stay in the Paris Agreement.

“On the heels of the recent federal report on climate change, we believe it is more critical than ever to create a global conversation about climate and to provide people with tangible ways they can help make a difference,” Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Global Networks, said in statement. “For us, it is not enough to just create this type of important, thought-provoking content. We need to be equally committed to ensuring it reaches the widest audience possible.”

Also Read: Elon Musk Quits Trump Advisory Role Over Paris Accord Exit: ‘Climate Change Is Real’

“Paris to Pittsburgh” is produced RadicalMedia in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and is co- directed by Emmy Award winners Sidney Beaumont and Michael Bonfiglio. Beaumont also produced the film. Executive Producers are Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger, Jon Kamen and Katherine Oliver. Co-producers are Lindsay Firestone and Katie Dunn. Antha Williams of the Bloomberg Philanthropies environment program served as a consulting producer.

Watch an exclusive clip of the movie above and the trailer below.

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