Hollywood’s Biggest Business Rumors And Predictions For 2022

As a hectic 2021 comes to a close, it’s time to take inventory on the buzziest business rumors circulating around La La Land and how they may or may not affect the entertainment industry in the weeks and months ahead. (Remember, these are just rumors…but hey, where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.)

— Apple AAPL will buy a legacy studio – – the question isn’t “if”, it’s “which one?”

Practically since the first day that Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg were installed atop Apple TV+ back in 2017, the rumors began to swirl that the two would engineer the purchase of their former stomping ground, Sony Pictures Entertainment. Since then, other “legacy studios” have also been speculated about that Tim Cook and his team are eye-balling — the most outrageous and sexiest one being…The Walt Disney Company DIS .

— Roku will buy Lionsgate

While Sony Pictures Entertainment and Lionsgate seem virtually attached at the hip/wine-drenched lips whenever cocktail talk turns to the next big acquisition target, if there ever felt like something akin to a “sure thing” it appears that Roku’s purchase of Lionsgate is as close to real as “real” can be in this rumor-mill-laden company town. Sony Pictures Entertainment is enjoying its first true moment in the sun since Tom Rothman took over, with the record-breaking release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, and as such, SPE’s purchase price likely makes it a non-starter for Roku’s more conservative appetite.

— Kevin Feige will take over Star Wars/Lucasfilm Ltd. at Disney

Despite the saving grace and massive success The Mandalorian provided for the launch of Disney+, and the spectacular new rides at the Disney Parks, the glossier and more expensive side of the Star Wars account – – its feature film business – – has been riddled with directors abandoning projects over “creative differences” and entire “sub-franchises” either being abandoned or tabled indefinitely. Kathleen Kennedy’s legacy (George Lucas’s hand-picked choice to run his company after it was sold to Disney for over $4 billion) as one of the most successful producers of all time, let alone the most successful female producer in history, is an established, non-debatable fact. That said, insiders openly wonder how long it will take Bob Chapek, Iger’s successor at Disney, to cut ties with Kennedy and install Marvel’s Mastermind, Kevin Feige, to refresh, rejuvenate and utterly re-imagine the Star Wars brand.


— David Zaslav will hit the “re-do” button on all of WarnerMedia’s streaming and premium cable efforts

Of the many problems David Zaslav is inheriting as the coming C.E.O. of the WarnerMedia/Discovery DISCA empire, chief among them is the identity crisis otherwise known as HBO Max. Bob Iger got a lot right when running The Walt Disney Company, but one of his lasting achievements was properly organizing and separating out brands, and their attendant consumers, when wading into the streaming wars . Legacy/Family content is found under the Disney+ banner (Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, Walt Disney Animation and National Geographic) while progressive, mature programming (FX, FXX, 20th TV and ABC TV) can be found under Hulu. Zaslav is actively consulting with the genius behind the Disney+ launch, Kevin Mayer, so you can count on new streaming channels getting launched, an utter reorg of the basic and premium channels and their brands (including the name HBO Max getting tossed) once the DOJ gives Zaslav the OK to take control.

— CBS/Viacom VIAC will buy Starz

As the legacy studio with the greatest number of household names/premium cable networks under one roof (Showtime, MTV, VH1, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Paramount, TV LAND PGRE …to name a few) it may surprise some that Shari Redstone would want to buy yet another cable outlet, the newly independent (recently separated from Lionsgate) premium cable channel, Starz. Under Jeffrey Hirsch’s leadership, with a strong assist from Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, the Starz galaxy of cable networks is a leader among African-Americans in the United States and a major streaming success worldwide. Starz and BET could be a peerless match for the CBS/Viacom suite of channels, positioning the entertainment company as the most diverse platform among any of the legacy studios in Hollywood or around the world.

While any number of these rumors (and too many others to name here) are likely already becoming reality behind the scenes, one thing we know for certain: big surprises are in store. Last year, few saw AT&T T spinning off Warner Media to Discovery…fewer still thought CAA would gobble up ICM. Hollywood has a way of reinventing itself every five to 10 years. It wasn’t that long ago that the biggest entertainment companies were: The Walt Disney Company, Paramount, Universal, Columbia, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox. Today’s behemoths are: Apple, Netflix NFLX and Amazon.

What a difference a decade or so makes…

See you next year!!

The Tycoon Herald