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.)
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
— 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.
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— 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
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
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
What a difference a decade or so makes…
See you next year!!