Hollywood Playbook: Monday's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Monday's Top 5 News Items

Yahoo/Microsoft  Enter Streaming TV Biz

Everybody knows television as we know it is as dead, and this includes evil bundled cable television. Time for smart players to get in on the ground floor of Streaming while there still is one. The Wall Street Journal reports that Yahoo will join Netflix Amazon, and XBox with the production four high-end web series that will enjoy budgets ranging from $700,000 to a few million.

Ms. Mayer is keen to create some buzz for Yahoo and convince advertisers that it is offering higher quality video programming than its competitors, particularly Google Inc’s YouTube. The people briefed on Yahoo’s plans say Ms. Mayer and her chief marketing officer, Kathy Savitt, have reviewed more than 100 projects over the past few months, looking for series that are ready to launch and don’t require a lot of development.

The company hasn’t yet finalized any programming deals. One issue for the company is whether it could make enough money from advertising to support the shows. If Yahoo is able to acquire ownership of the content, it could supplement its revenue by licensing the shows in international markets and cutting syndication deals. Traditional TV studios typically bank on those sources of revenue to make a profit.

A breakout Web series would surely help Yahoo’s perception among advertisers. And it could even convince some marketers to shift a portion of their ad budgets that would typically go to TV.

The problem for Yahoo is that they do not have a streaming service that I know of — i.e., an app you can access on a Roku or Bluray. If I am wrong, please put the details in the comments.

Regardless, it is going to difficult for anyone to get into the streaming television business if the content is only accessible via a computer as opposed to through a Roku or Bluray player.

Microsoft is jumping into Streaming television in a major way:

All are involved in shows that Microsoft’s new Xbox television studio plans to roll out globally starting in June. Helmed by former CBS Corp. honcho Nancy Tellem, who Microsoft hired 19 months ago to build a TV powerhouse from the ground up, the studio now has six series lined up — including a science-fiction thriller called “Humans” about humanoid robot workers — and more than a dozen projects in development.

The future is now.


Box Office: Brutal Drop for ‘Noah’; Might Not Break Even

The deadly Cinemascore of “C” and the word getting out that some of the Christian community were wrong to recommend the film, seem to have finally caught up to “Noah,” which dropped 61% in its second weekend. Box Office Mojo now predicts the creepy anti-God film will only barely hit $100 million in North America. Not good.  

Overall, worldwide, “Noah” now sits at $178 million, about half of what it will have to gross in order to break even.

Aronofsky and Paramount tried for a bait-and-switch. It worked for one weekend.


For 90 Years, Mickey Rooney Never Stopped Performing

This is a clip of The Mighty Mickey Rooney in 1933 that appeared in “That’s Entertainment” (1976). In the clip, Mickey is 13 years-old and already a show-biz veteran. That was his ninth year as a professional  performer.

It’s all there — the energy, charisma, talent.

For 90 years, until the day he died — through highs and lows maybe five people in all of show business can relate to — Mickey Rooney performed.

I’m still not over the deaths of Jack Lemmon and Dennis Hopper, and now I have to deal with this.

My tribute to Mickey Rooney is here.


Hollywood Begs for More Welfare Money


Neil Patrick Harris, Harvey Weinstein, Bryan Cranston joined U.S. senator Charles E. Schumer in a public push to grant Broadway a tax incentive similar to the one offered to the film and TV industries.

In a Sardi’s event also attended by Tyne Daly and thesps from “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Newsies” and “Cinderella,” Schumer and the Broadway League presented the case for offering investors first-year tax breaks on investments up to $15 million per theater project, on par with what investors in film and TV get. The senate finance committee recently approved the proposal as part of the current “tax extenders” bill, but that bill must wend its way through the Senate itself and then through the House to achieve full approval.

Tax cuts for me but not for thee.


‘God’s Not Dead’ Chugs to $32 million

In its third weekend, the $2 million Christian film “God’s Not Dead” added 580 screens and only dropped 12% over last weekend, for a total weekend haul of $7.7 million.

Even when adding screens, that’s an amazing hold and a lot of people are getting rich off this film. DVD and Bluray sales will only make that even more true.

Whoever handled the film’s marketing and roll-out campaign should get a nice fat $5 million bonus.



Quick hits:

My Review: ‘Captain America’ Battles Obama

2016 Showdown: Captain America vs. Superman & Batman

Peaches Geldof, daughter of Bob Geldof, Dead at 25

Barbara Walters to Retire From TV on May 16

Syfy Orders Zombie Series from ‘Sharknado’ Producers


Send tips, requests to

Follow  John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC