SPINAL TAP IS BACK
This is Spinal Tap could be making a comeback – or at least a sequel, or merchandising or tv appearances. Co-creators Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Michael McKean and Christopher Guest have finally struck a deal with Vivendi and it’s StudioCanal division. Oh joy of joys!!
Shearer sued back in 2016 with the headline-making allegation that despite decades of cult success, the creatives had just $81 in merchandising income and $98 in musical sales income to show for their work on the 1984 rockumentary. They alleged “Hollywood accounting” sins, Vivendi bungling trademark rights, and more. The four demanded hundreds of millions in damages plus hoped to reclaim Spinal Tap by exercising termination rights under the Copyright Act. The boys were given permission by the courts to pursue a fraud claim, and they did. The gang also scored a victory over the revenue for the soundtrack for the movie.
In a status report to the judge, the parties say they reached agreement on Thursday and will be preparing a long-form settlement agreement that will include “restructuring the parties’ relationship and modifying contracts pertaining to the picture’s distribution.”
Now the boys have grown a bit older, and their wallets a bit fatter since 1984. Every single one of them has had enormous success in the industry. So to say if they took less money then what was originally thought is a fair thing to say, on the other hand – maybe Spinal Tap isn’t bringing in much revenue anymore and the court fees were outweighing the profits – who knows. The important thing is, after 40 years, the creators who made this amazing cult classic finally have ownership of their work and hopefully can have some fun with it, now that it’s theirs.
PEACOCK ON ROKU
Friction over carriage revolved around advertising inventory. Roku commonly secures 30% of inventory from its content partners, which it often then re-sells. NBCU wanted to come in well below that mark initially, people familiar with the talks told Deadline, creating the tangle. Peacock launched in April on Comcast systems and nationally in July.
The two companies had battled over the past 24 hours in an escalation of tensions that had continued dutring months of fruitless, on-and-off negotiations. Early Friday morning, word came that there could be an impasse that would take NBCU apps off Roku, which reaches 43 million users in the U.S. By the afternoon, things were looking up.
While subscription revenue is valuable to Peacock, advertising is its bedrock as it was designed to leverage the existing ad expertise of NBCU. Peacock has limited ad breaks to five minutes per hour, making inventory scarce. The streaming effort is the strategic centerpiece at NBCU and has driven a large-scale reorganization of the company in recent months.
BRUCE REALLY HATES TRUMP
Author and occasional Deadline columnist Don Winslow has announced on Twitter that he’ll have Bruce Springsteen as a cohort in the next of his long series of caustic videos that reflect his intense dislike for President Trump and the job he has done in the White House. Winslow was not specific about how Springsteen or his music will factor into the video, but he Tweeted that he is “Thrilled to be working with Bruce @springsteen on our next video. He has been a hero of mine for so long. his extraordinary songs are the soundtrack of America. I will let you know soon when/where the video will debut. Winslow’s latest video takes aim at the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump who since 2017 has served as an advisor to her father.
SAVE THE GREAT WHITE WAY
U.S. Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Broadway League renewed the call for dedicated federal funding for Broadway and other New York live venues today, reiterating the push for the $10 billion bipartisan Save Our Stages campaign.
Citing the $15 billion contributed by Broadway to New York’s economy last year, the 100,000 jobs, and the millions of tourists, Schumer called live performance “our pulse, our energy.” He said theater was particularly vulnerable to COVID since live venues were “the first to close under COVID and the last to open.”
Last month, Schumer endorsed the $10 billion bipartisan Save Our Stages bill co-authored by Senators Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, and Republican John Cornyn to provide grants of up to $12 million to eligible live venue operators, producers, promoters, or talent representatives to help cover six months of operating expenses and offset the economic impact of COVID-19. The grants could be used for payroll costs, rent, mortgage, utilities, and personal protective equipment, among other needs.
Schumer said today that the grants would aid live venues in staying afloat until next spring when a vaccine could be available. If no vaccine arrives by then, Schumer said, he would seek to renew the bill. The senator requested that theater industry insiders utilize their subscriber and supporter lists to enlist patrons and fans in emailing senators to support the bill.
IF YA SMELL!!! ROCK ENDORSES BIDEN
The Rock was busy this week, with a few announcements. The biggest one as we get closer to voting day is his smacketh downeth on Trump. The Rock says Biden/Harris is his ticket and make no mistake about it. He even interviewed the two of them on his social media page. Of course most of Hollywood endorsed Hillary Clinton four years ago and that didn’t really do much good did it. Everyone but Scott Baio looked like an idiot when Trump won.
The Rock’s second big announcement involves his production team and his pet project, Black Adam. The Rock has hand picked Hawkman for his film, and he picked Aldis Hodge. A man not greatly known, sure, but that is what can make it all the better. Sometimes celebrities are not supposed to be in every single role in a superhero film. Aldis starred in City On The Hill and appeared in the horrible remake of The Invisible Man.
Seems like The Rock has a lot cooking, and so far it all smells delicious.
I’m Paul Bernardo, and I’ll see ya here every Thursday, on PlaceToBeNation.com!!