The Notary Hotel opens in downtown Philadelphia

July 17, 2019

The Notary Hotel
The Notary Hotel in Philadelphia (Photo courtesy of Braemar Hotels & Resorts)

The following is a press release from Braemar Hotels & Resorts:

Braemar Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NYSE: BHR) (“Braemar” or the “Company”) today announced the opening of The Notary Hotel in the heart of Downtown Philadelphia. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the former Courtyard by Marriott Philadelphia Downtown underwent a rebranding and renovation in excess of $20 million to create The Notary Hotel. Located at 21 North Juniper Street, the property now features 499 guest rooms and over 10,000 square feet of conference space throughout 12 event rooms. It joins Marriott International’s Autograph Collection® Hotels, a diverse portfolio of approximately 180 independent hotels around the world that reflect unique vision, design and environments.

“After approximately two years of design and construction on The Notary Hotel, we are delighted to finally announce its formal grand opening as a member of the Autograph Collection by Marriott,” said Richard J. Stockton, Braemar’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “As of today, the hotel is available for booking as an Autograph property on Marriott’s central reservation system and elsewhere and will be referred to as The Notary Hotel in all future public communications.”

For more information, or to make reservations, please visit The Notary Hotel website at https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/phlak-the-notary-hotel-autograph-collection or contact 215-496-3200 to speak with one of the hotel’s team members.

Braemar Hotels & Resorts is a real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on investing in luxury hotels and resorts.

Ashford has created an Ashford App for the hospitality REIT investor community. The Ashford App is available for free download at Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store by searching “Ashford.”

Princess Cruises’ Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess announces escape-room experience Phantom Bridge

July 16, 2019

Phantom Bridge
Phantom Bridge (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

The following is a press release from Princess Cruises:

Cruise guests ready to travel through time and space need to look no further than Princess Cruises newest ships – Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess – to experience Phantom Bridge, a world’s first game combining digital and physical elements for the ultimate immersive escape room.

“Phantom Bridge, our newest Discovery at SEA interactive attraction, will offer our guests the exclusive opportunity to live a real-world, gamified experience with more than 700 different outcomes for the ultimate adventure,” said Denise Saviss, Princess Cruises vice president of entertainment experience. “Partnering with Farbound to deliver this unprecedented technology and world’s first interactive Mediascape Room further solidifies our commitment to share innovative and distinctive offerings to our guests.”

On the Phantom Bridge, Princess Cruises guests will face immersive environments and show moments as they race to solve puzzles and travel to endangered time periods. The entire ship will transform and respond to guest actions, enveloping them in the story. Developed exclusively for Princess Cruises by Farbound, the leader in gamified real-life experiences, the debut of Phantom Bridge will feature the first Mediascape Room, the proprietary gaming and show-control system that runs the entire game play.

“As Princess Cruises is committed to delivering a completely different and memorable experience for its guests, we are so honored to be working with them as Farbound’s partner. This new class of entertainment offerings will strengthen and hold Princess Cruises position as the leader in the travel industry.” said Tim Rheault & Steve Trowbridge, Co-Founders of Farbound.

Phantom Bridge offers a range of activities including:

Uncover the clues to solve the mystery – projection mapping, touch screen surfaces and hidden physical elements bring the environment to life as players race to uncover new clues and solve puzzles that will transport them to the next endangered time period.

Blends the physical with the digital with immersive effects – players captain the ship and turn the physical wheel to navigate the vessel and watch as the simulation view changes. Lighting, sound and digital features disguised as physical ones are combined to create an immersive, realistic experience, every step of the way. But, players beware as they’ll never know when a new item could mysteriously appear and be the key to the next puzzle.

Families can play together! – Phantom Bridge tailors the experience to players of all ages, heights and physical abilities so parents, kids and grandparents can all play together. Plus, with so many levels, time periods and puzzles more than 700 different outcomes are possible, which means players can come back and engage in Phantom Bridge time and time again since it’s never the same adventure.

Phantom Bridge will also debut onboard the cruise line’s next ship, Enchanted Princess, summer 2020. Guests can try Phantom Bridge in the new Experience Center located on deck 18. The event lasts 23 minutes and can accommodate up to six people.

For families looking for immersive, enriching and fun experiences while traveling, Princess Cruises has partnered with Discovery Inc. to create Discovery at SEA onboard programming that brings to life destinations and fan-favorite Discovery and Animal Planet shows. Guests can choose from exclusive, family friendly shore excursions and onboard activities like Stargazing at Sea. Younger cruisers, 17 and under, will also enjoy the recently renovated Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Centers.

More details about the robust onboard features and itineraries of Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess can be found at www.princess.com.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel advisor, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company’s website at princess.com.

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas unveils massive new features

July 11, 2019

(Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

The following is a press release from Royal Caribbean International:

Travelers can soon take in Europe’s historic destinations from a bold, new perspective on board the amplified Allure of the Seas. Royal Caribbean International has revealed the signature feats and innovative experiences coming to the renowned Oasis Class ship as part of a 58-day, $165 million transformation. Guests will be able to conquer a continent’s worth of adventures and come back for more with Allure’s upcoming lineup of new features, including the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, completely redesigned Adventure Ocean kids and teens spaces, the first Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, and Quantum Class original Music Hall. Reimagined as the ultimate summer vacation in Europe, Allure will open its season of 7-night Western Mediterranean cruises from homeport Barcelona, Spain on May 10, 2020.

Bold Family Favorites

Adventure Ocean (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Whether the moment calls for thrills or relaxation, vacationers sailing on the amplified Allure of the Seas can test their courage or sit back at the Pool and Sports Zone neighborhood that will now tout the perfect family day out. Feature highlights include:

  • The 10-story Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea
  • The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell
  • Splashaway Bay kids aquapark, featuring twin drench buckets, three waterslides, fountains, pools, water cannons and a Splash Pad for tots
  • Reimagined pool deck, complete with The Lime & Coconut signature bar across two locations, a wider variety of seating and shade with cabana-like “casitas,” daybeds, hammocks and swing seats; new whirlpools on the top deck, and a reinvigorated, adults-only Solarium
Adventure Ocean’s Workshop (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

The thrill will go from the outside-in on board the amped-up Allure. Expanding on the ways that families can spend time together and on their own are the additions of completely reimagined, dedicated spaces for babies, kids and teens, and popular Royal Caribbean activities.

  • All-new Adventure Ocean, where younger kids can choose their own immersive adventures across an entirely new layout. The major makeover will bring to life interactive, personalized and unexpected activities and features in areas redesigned from top to bottom, including whimsical rooms with climbable creations at Play Place, hands-on art, science and tech fun at Workshop; friendly competition in physical, interactive games at Arena; the Hangout, to chill and make new friends over gaming consoles or sit back for some quality “me” time, AO Babies for babies and tots, and experiential activities at the multipurpose AO Junior space specially designed for 3- to 5-year-olds
    Dedicated teens spaces (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

    Dedicated teens spaces (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)
  • Maxed-out teen spaces, debuting a 360-degree transformation, with a secret speakeasy-like entrance leading into an exclusive lounge with gaming consoles, music, movies, places to hang out and a new outdoor deck
  • Glow-in-the-dark laser tag in Clash for the Crystal City and Royal Escape Room – Apollo 18: Lunar Landing, an out-of-this-world expedition that challenges guests to solve puzzle after puzzle before time runs out

A World of Flavors

Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)
Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)
Portside BBQ (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Allure will deliver an array of culinary possibilities with more restaurants, casual spots and bars joining the already-diverse offering of specialty and complimentary options.

  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, a new take on a guest-favorite, will offer the beloved family-style, rustic dining experience with an enhanced menu of Italian staples, complete with hand-tossed pizza from the new in-house pizza oven, an expansive charcuterie station and a wide selection of wines and limoncellos
  • Portside BBQ will serve up a menu inspired by popular barbecue styles across the United States, including brisket, pulled pork, chicken, burnt ends, mac and cheese, homestyle cornbread and more
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade for gameday watch parties on big-screen TVs, tournaments, bar bites with a twist and ice-cold brews
  • El Loco Fresh, featuring casual Mexican “street fare”
  • Sugar Beach, the sweetest spot on board with more than 220 types of candy and ice cream
  • Bionic Bar by Makr Shakr, manned by two robot bartenders shaking up classic cocktails and custom orders
Portside BBQ (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Amped-Up Hotspots

Music Hall (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

After a day of exploring iconic destinations and channeling their inner adventurer, guests can go out for a “night on the town” and find new venues added to the nightlife offered on board.

  • Music Hall, a Quantum Class favorite, will take live music to the next level with revolving setlists and cover bands, ample lounge seating on two levels and room to rock out on the dance floor
  • Spotlight Karaoke, the dedicated karaoke bar with both main stage and private room experiences will feature thousands of songs to choose from, music trivia and themed nights
Spotlight Karaoke  (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Beginning May 2020, Allure of the Seas’ 7-night Western Mediterranean cruises sailing roundtrip from Barcelona will visit must-see cities such as Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence (Marseille), France; Florence/Pisa (La Spezia), Rome (Civitavecchia) and Naples/Capri, Italy.

Allure joins the original gamechanger, Oasis of the Seas, as the second Oasis Class ship to be reimagined in the $1 billion Royal Amplified fleet modernization program. These two revolutionary ships will steal the spotlight next year in Europe and the New York area, respectively, as the boldest summer vacations on both sides of the Atlantic.

In November 2020, Allure will make its way coast to coast to Miami for the winter season. Sailing from Royal Caribbean’s state-of-the-art Terminal A, the reimagined ship will offer 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. Many of the ship’s Caribbean itineraries will include visits to the cruise line’s new private island destination in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

About Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International has been delivering innovation at sea for more than 50 years. Each successive class of ships is an architectural marvel featuring the latest technology and guest experiences for today’s adventurous traveler. The cruise line continues to revolutionize vacations with itineraries to more than 270 destinations in 72 countries on six continents, including Royal Caribbean’s highly anticipated private island in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, the first in the Perfect Day Island Collection. Royal Caribbean has also been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 16 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards.

Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos opening Hard Rock Hotel London, its first London hotel

July 11, 2019

Hard Rock Hotel London (Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos)
Hard Rock Hotel London (Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos)

The following is a press release from Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos:

Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos celebrate a historic moment by announcing the opening of Hard Rock Hotel London. The property is Hard Rock’s first hotel in the United Kingdom and continues the brand’s legacy in its original birthplace.

“Blending the DNA of the Hard Rock brand with London’s musical culture creates a memorable experience for all guests to enjoy,” said Ian Fletcher, general manager of Hard Rock Hotel London. “We’re excited to showcase the property’s unique offerings and signature brand amenities to visitors and locals alike — they won’t be able to find anywhere else like it in the UK.”

As part of a partnership with London’s largest hotel owner-operator, glh, the hotel boasts 900 stylish rooms and suites, along with a Rock Royalty Lounge, GMT Bar, a Hard Rock Cafe, a cocktail bar and a Rock Shop®. Located on the corner of Oxford Street at Marble Arch, it continues to expand Hard Rock’s blend of music, entertainment and iconic merchandise in the iconic capital city.

“The first Hard Rock Cafe was founded in London in 1971 and here we are, building on where it all began 48 years ago,” said Dale Hipsh, senior vice president of Hard Rock Hotels. “Every Hard Rock Hotel property is one-of-a-kind, but this one represents something special for the brand. This hotel is the culmination of three concepts – the cafes, hotels and Rock Shops® – coming together as one in an open-lobby, community-driven environment with Hard Rock’s memorabilia as the design thread binding them together. It’s truly incredible.”

Legendary memorabilia is sprinkled throughout the property, telling the story of London’s rich musical history. One special item is a letter written in 1958 by the late Buddy Holly, while he stayed at the hotel that is now Hard Rock Hotel London. The property also features another amazing piece of musical history – the Kirkwood piano Queen’s legendary singer, Freddie Mercury, practiced on as a teenager.

In addition to the GMT bar, set to be the perfect community gathering spot, its lively Hard Rock Cafe features a brand-new design and menu where guests can enjoy fresh, high-quality items including exciting cocktail creations and classic American-inspired cooking. It includes 370 seats for guests to enjoy daily live music performances that celebrate both local London performers and international talent. Guests can also check out the Rock Shop® for iconic Hard Rock merchandise, along with exclusive pieces from partner designers and collaborators and specialized merchandise that features local artists.

The hotel entices guests with an array of signature brand offerings and amenities, including The Sound of Your Stay® music program, where the mood can be set with a complimentary Crosley turntable. Alternatively, guests can rock out in their room with a Fender guitar, reserved at the front desk complete with headphones for no noise complaints. There is also the revolutionary Rock Om in-room yoga program, allowing for guests to relax, refresh and find their Zen. For those looking to amp-up their stay, Rock Royalty® rooms and suites offer the ultimate A-List experience, including a personal concierge and access to a lavish private lounge.

For more information or to book a stay at the new Hard Rock Hotel London, visit hrhlondon.com.

About Hard Rock International

With venues in 74 countries, including 186 Hard Rock Cafes, 241 Rock Shops®, 29 hotels and 12 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized companies. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s most valuable collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise available in global Rock Shops and online at https://shop.hardrock.com. HRI owns the global trademark for all Hard Rock brands including Hard Rock Live performance venues. The company owns, operates and franchises Cafes in iconic cities including London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Dubai. HRI also owns, licenses and/or manages hotel/casino properties worldwide. Destinations include the company’s two most successful Hotel and Casino properties in Tampa and Hollywood, FL., both owned and operated by HRI parent entity The Seminole Tribe of Florida. Another exciting Hotel & Casino location includes Atlantic City. Hard Rock Hotels are located in vibrant city and resort destinations such as Bali, Cancun, Daytona Beach, Desaru Coast, Ibiza, London, Los Cabos, Orlando and Shenzhen. Upcoming new Hard Rock Cafe locations include Kathmandu, Nepal, Kyoto, Japan, Asuncion, Paraguay, Puerto Madero, Argentina and Chandigarh, India. New Hard Rock Hotel, Casino or Hotel & Casino projects include Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Dublin, Madrid, Maldives, New York City, Ottawa, Sacramento, Dalian and Haikou in China. In 2018, Hard Rock International was recognized as a Forbes Magazine Top Employer for Women and Land Operator of the Year at the Global Gaming Awards. In 2019, Hard Rock International was honored as one of Forbes Magazine’s America’s Best Large Employers and Forbes Magazine’s Top Employer for Women. For more information on Hard Rock International visit www.hardrock.com.

About glh Hotels

glh is London’s largest hotel owner-operator, creating memorable moments for guests whilst delivering unforgettable hospitality. With over 5,000 rooms and 130 meeting and event spaces across 17 outstanding locations, glh is at the heart of London hospitality. Including Amba, every, Guoman, Thistle and Thistle Express, glh’s portfolio of hotel brands provides guests with the perfect slice of local city life, whatever their purpose of their stay.

Aloft Madrid Gran Via opens in Spain

July 11, 2019

Aloft Madrid Gran Vía
Aloft Madrid Gran Vía (Rendering courtesy of Marriott International)

The following is a press release from Marriott International:

Aloft Hotels, Marriott International’s hotel brand for music fans and tech-savvy travellers, brings a new beat to Spain this month with the opening of Aloft Madrid Gran Vía. Located in the vibrant heart of the capital, the new hotel is a stone’s throw from hotspots including the iconic Plaza de España, the hip neighborhood of Malasaña and Chueca overflowing with restaurants and bars, and the shopping district of Gran Via. Designed by world-class architecture firm the Rockwell Group, the property’s tech-forward, future-proofed design is aimed at the next generation of travelers, juxtaposed against the rich history of Gran Vía.

Madrid is a city of contrasts, where modern boulevards open onto ancient Egyptian temples and bustling flea markets border grand palaces and architectural icons dating back to the ninth century. Legendary nightlife and iconic national dishes come as standard from the cosmopolitan city of welcoming madrileños, but the Spanish capital is also home to a few surprises, including secret gardens, incredible art galleries, stunning parks and lakes, as well as the oldest restaurant in the world. With its enviable central location, Aloft Madrid Gran Vía provides the perfect jumping-off point for the next-gen traveller to discover Spain’s historic capital through a modern lens, starting with spectacular panoramic views of some of the city’s most iconic buildings from its rooftop Splash pool and signature cocktails at the W XYZ® bar.

Aloft Madrid Gran Vía
Aloft Madrid Gran Vía (Rendering courtesy of Marriott International)

“Madrid has long topped destination wish-lists for travelers in Europe, thanks to its spirited culture. Aloft Hotels is set to put its own unique spin on the capital’s social scene with live music programming, the hottest emerging artists, and great signature cocktails”, said John Licence, Vice President Premium and Select Brands, Europe at Marriott International.

Staying true to its roots as an innovative incubator brand, Aloft Hotels, in partnership with the Rockwell Group, developed a cohesive design strategy for Aloft Madrid Gran Via that draws on the sense of humor and the vivid color story the brand is known for. In a nod to the brand’s focus on tech and bold use of color, the property’s free-flowing design embraces theglitch” design trend to aestheticize digital or analog errors, materializing in design details from distorted city art throughout the public spaces and guestrooms. The always-on, buzzing communal areas reflect the eclectic spirit of the city and respond to the needs of the modern traveller, allowing guests to seamlessly transition between work and play.

“Rockwell Group’s design concept celebrates Madrid’s vibrancy and energy,” said Elisa Rodriguez, Studio Leader, Rockwell Group Madrid. “We were inspired by the idea of seeing the city and its people through a kaleidoscope, rendering the resulting images as pixelated, blended, and multifaceted, to create dynamic moments throughout the hotel.”

Each of its 139 spacious guestrooms feature Aloft’s ultra-comfortable beds in the brand’s signature artful, clutter-free and innovative loft layout, 49-inch televisions with Plug & Play connectivity, fast and free Wi-Fi. Additional amenities include the Re:chargeSM fitness center and Splash pool; Tactic, an interactive private creative meeting space with natural light equipped with modern audio-visual hardware; and Re:fuelSM by Aloft, a convenient 24-hour cafe for a quick bite on the go. Marriott brands were the first in the industry to introduce Mobile Key, the industry’s first keyless entry system.  Marriott Bonvoy members can use the Marriott Bonvoy app on their smartphone or Apple Watch as their room key wherever available.

The brand’s signature Re:mix® Lounge and W XYZ® bar provide vibrant hubs for locals and travelers alike to socialize and enjoy live music performances as part of the Live At Aloft Hotels music series. The hotel programming will range from cultural, design and tech events, offering a new perspective in this vibrant city.

There are currently 161 Aloft Hotels in 25 countries and territories around the world. In Europe specifically, Aloft Hotels is present in key city-break destinations such as Dublin, London and Liverpool with expected openings in The Hague, Munich and more.

For more information on Aloft Madrid Gran Via please visit www.alofthotels.com.

About Aloft Hotels
With over 160 hotels now open in 25 countries and territories around the world, Aloft Hotels, part of Marriott International, Inc., delivers a fresh approach to the traditional staid hotel landscape. For the ‘always on’ next generation of traveler, the Aloft brand offers a tech-forward, vibrant experience and a modern style that is different by design. For more information, please visit www.alofthotels.com and follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Aloft is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy, the new name of Marriott’s travel program replacing Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz- Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG). The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments and unparalleled benefits including earning points toward free hotel stays and nights toward Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit MarriottBonvoy.marriott.com.

Marriott International, Inc.
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,000 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 131 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company now offers one travel program, Marriott Bonvoy™, replacing Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®(SPG). For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

WarnerMedia announces HBO Max streaming service, set to debut in 2020

July 9, 2019

The following is a press release from WarnerMedia:

WarnerMedia today unveiled HBO Max as the name of its new streaming service, which will offer an impressive direct-to-consumer experience for everyone ranging from families with young children to adults of all ages. Anchored with and inspired by the legacy of HBO’s excellence and award-winning storytelling, the new service will be “Maximized” with an extensive collection of exclusive original programming (Max Originals) and the best-of-the-best from WarnerMedia’s enormous portfolio of beloved brands and libraries.

New deals with Warner Bros. Television and others for HBO Max announced today include:

· The exclusive streaming rights at launch to all 236 episodes of “Friends” – one of the biggest hits on television and in streaming

· The exclusive streaming rights at launch to all episodes of fan favorites “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and “Pretty Little Liars”

· The exclusive streaming home to a string of new Warner Bros.’ produced dramas for The CW beginning with the fall 2019 season, including the highly-anticipated new DC Entertainment series “Batwoman,” and “Katy Keene” (spinoff of “Riverdale”)

· New exclusive movie production deals with Greg Berlanti, one of Hollywood’s most prolific and successful producers, and Reese Witherspoon, Academy Award(R) and Emmy Award(R)-winning actress and producer; Berlanti will produce an initial four movies focused in the young adult space, while Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine will produce at least two films

HBO Max, scheduled to launch commercially in spring of 2020, is anticipated to premiere with 10,000 hours of premium content.

“HBO Max will bring together the diverse riches of WarnerMedia to create programming and user experiences not seen before in a streaming platform. HBO’s world-class programming leads the way, the quality of which will be the guiding principle for our new array of Max Originals, our exciting acquisitions, and the very best of the Warner Bros. libraries, starting with the phenomenon that is ‘Friends,'” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer. “Under the leadership of two of the strongest creative visionaries – Casey Bloys (HBO) and Kevin Reilly (original content and acquisitions) – and two of the most experienced digital experts – Tony Goncalves and Andy Forssell – I have no doubt they and their dedicated teams will deliver the world’s best storytelling to audiences of all ages wherever and whenever they want it.”

Max Original series previously announced include:

“Tokyo Vice” star Ansel Elgort (Photo courtesy of TBS)

· “Dune: The Sisterhood,” an adaptation of Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson’s book based in the world created by Frank Herbert’s book Dune, from director Denis Villeneuve

· “Tokyo Vice,” based on Jake Adelstein’s non-fiction first-hand account of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat starring Ansel Elgort

· “The Flight Attendant,” a one-hour thriller series based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian, which will star Kaley Cuoco, who is also executive producing alongside Greg Berlanti

· “Love Life,” a 10-episode half-hour romantic comedy anthology series starring “Pitch Perfect” star Anna Kendrick, who will also executive produce alongside Paul Feig

· “Station Eleven,” a postapocalyptic limited series based on Emily St. John Mandel’s international bestseller, adapted by Patrick Somerville and directed by Hiro Murai

· “Made for Love,” a 10-episode, half-hour, straight-to-series adaptation based on the tragicomic novel of the same name by Alissa Nutting, also from Somerville and directed by S.J. Clarkson

· “Gremlins,” an animated series from Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Entertainment based on the original movie

Highlights of HBO programming previously announced for 2020 and 2021 include:

“The Outsider” star Ben Mendelsohn (Photo courtesy of Focus Features)

· Stephen King’s “The Outsider,” a dark mystery starring Ben Mendelsohn, produced and directed by Jason Bateman

· “Lovecraft Country,” a unique horror series based on a novel by Matt Ruff, written and executive produced by Misha Green, and executive produced by Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams

· “The Nevers,” Joss Whedon’s new science fiction series starring Laura Donnelly

· “The Gilded Age,” the opulent world of 1885 New York from “Downton Abbey’s” Julian Fellowes

· “Avenue 5,” high satire aboard a space-bound cruise ship from Armando Iannucci (“Veep”), starring Hugh Laurie and Josh Gad

· “The Undoing,” a psychological thriller from David E. Kelley, directed by Susanne Bier starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant

· “The Plot Against America,” reimagined history based on Phillip Roth’s novel written and executive produced by David Simon and Ed Burns, starring Winona Ryder and John Turturro

· “Perry Mason,” the classic legal drama for a new generation, executive produced by Robert Downey, Jr. and Susan Downey, with Matthew Rhys in the title role

· “I Know This Much Is True,” a complex family drama starring Mark Ruffalo playing twin brothers, one of whom has schizophrenia, based on the best-selling novel by Wally Lamb, written and directed by Derek Cianfrance.

Casey Bloys, programming president of HBO, continues to oversee content on the HBO service, with investment in HBO original programming having been increased 50% over normal spending.

Kevin Reilly, president of the Warner Media Entertainment Networks that include TNT, TBS, and truTV, also serves as chief content officer of HBO Max overseeing all new Max Originals and library content.

Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media, now oversees the development of HBO Max with Andy Forssell, also from Otter Media and formerly CEO of Hulu, as the general manager.

Some of Hollywood’s most successful creators and producers are looking forward to the new service, including the following who are either producing for HBO and/or an upcoming HBO Max Original:

Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

“WarnerMedia has three things going for it with this new streaming service. One, they have an incredible history and legacy of storytelling. Two, they’re super future-focused and trying to be the best. And three, they’re letting people like me embarrass myself episode after episode until I find love. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this family.”

Issa Rae

Issa Rae (Photo by Mike Smith/NBC)

“What’s exciting about HBO Max is that we have so many more resources and so many more voices of support for our show, and it’s an opportunity for other creators to have a bigger platform. I’m thrilled that my show will still be on HBO but now it will also be part of a new service that will reach more and more people.”

Greg Berlanti

Greg Berlanti (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros./Everett Collection)

“What I’ve always loved about creating shows that connect with a young audience is that these fans grow up with the programs and will remember them for the rest of their lives. Now I get to do even more of that for HBO Max, where viewers will be able to discover shows on their own time, in their own way. Like any great novel, these shows will be there waiting for you. As a fan, what I’m personally most excited to watch on the service are all the great Warner Bros. movies that affected our entire culture and changed the way we live.”

Damon Lindelof

Damon Lindelof (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

“Working with HBO has been an entirely different level. People really care about these shows and they invest at such a high level. And now with HBO Max in the family, what I’m feeling is a greater sense of understanding and belonging that the family went from being a nuclear family to now there’s a couple more kids and there’s aunts and uncles and there’s cousins and they’re all cool. I want to go to that family reunion!”

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham (Photo by Charles Sykes/Bravo)

“To be able to work for a company that’s allowed me to grow as an artist, as a woman, as a creator is a real gift. I love being part of this specific group of HBO programs that have meant so much to me. And lots of people are obsessed with the concept of streaming and now HBO Max is the future of the medium because it’s all just about continuing to tell really smart stories, and to me, that’s evergreen. I’m working on more projects for HBO as well as something very exciting for HBO Max and I’m just in heaven.”

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

“It’s the dream of every artist to create art that inspires and even changes people. I’ve had a glorious experience doing ‘Big Little Lies’ on HBO and I’m so happy to also be developing a brand-new original drama series for HBO Max. This bigger platform will enable even more people to see the work that I and so many of my friends have poured our hearts into creating.”

George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin (Photo courtesy of TBS)
“Back in 1991, after a decade in television, I began writing a series of novels that I knew would never be filmed. ‘A Game of Thrones’ and its sequels were too big, too complex, too dark, too sexy, with a cast of thousands, gigantic battles, massive castles, direwolves, ice wights, and dragons. Too sprawling for a feature film, too expensive for television. I should have remembered, ‘It’s not television, it’s HBO.’ Working with HBO during the past decade has been a dream come true. What they did could not be done, but they did it anyway. And now they are embarked on a new venture. No, they won’t be tying their shows to the legs of ravens as I suggested… instead they are launching an exciting new streaming platform that will carry all the great HBO programming around the world… classic old shows and thrilling new shows, including (I hope) a return to my world of Westeros. Sign me up!”

Kaley Cuoco

Kaley Cuoco (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

“I have been part of the Warner Bros. Television family for over 12 years. I treasure my time on ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ and I am thrilled that our relationship continues to flourish in my new role as a producer on ‘The Flight Attendant.’ When I read the book more than a year-and-a-half ago, I was instantly obsessed with it – and with the idea of bringing it to the screen. I could not be happier to collaborate with the team at HBO Max to make this dream a reality. WarnerMedia has a long history of supporting storytellers and empowering them to fulfill their greatest potential. I am proud to be working with them on this series and cannot wait for viewers to have the opportunity to see it.”

“Friends” was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman and aired for 10 seasons on NBC from 1994 to 2004. The show revolved around six friends and made stars out of its ensemble — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer. The series was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television.

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was created by Andy Borowitz and Susan Borowitz, and ran for six seasons on NBC from 1990 to 1996. The show revolved around Will Smith as a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia who is sent to move in with his wealthy aunt and uncle in their Bel-Air mansion after getting into a fight in his hometown. The show made Smith a star. Also starring in the comedy were James Avery, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Janet Hubert-Whitten, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana M. Ali and Joseph Marcell. It was produced by The Stuffed Dog Company, Quincy Jones Productions-Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment and NBC Productions.

“Pretty Little Liars” was developed by I. Marlene King, based upon a series of books by Sara Shepard, and aired for seven seasons on ABC Family/Freeform from 2010 to 2017. The series follows the lives of five high school girls whose clique falls apart after the leader of the group, Alison, goes missing. The series features an ensemble cast, including Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell, Sasha Pieterse and Janel Parrish. It was produced by Alloy Entertainment, Long Lake Productions and Russian Hill Productions in association with Warner Horizon Scripted Television.

About WarnerMedia

Warner Media is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, HBO Now, HBO Max, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, truTV, CNN, DC Entertainment, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and others. Warner Media is part of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T).

September 12, 2019 UPDATE:

Making its first move into the key unscripted space, HBO Max, the upcoming direct-to-consumer offering from WarnerMedia set to launch in the spring of 2020, has ordered two original unscripted series, Legendary and The Greatest Space (working title) straight to series.

Legendary will be serving up 10 episodes of all body and face, with no shade. In this show, divas will battle on voguing teams called “houses,” with the chance to win a cash prize in ballsy fashion and dance challenges to ultimately achieve “Legendary” status. Voguing is a competitive style of modern dance featuring over-the-top fashion and choreography based on poses struck by models on a catwalk. Legendary will feature 10 voguing “houses,” each comprised of five performers and a leader – the house “parent.” The teams rotate in a round-robin format, and each episode documents a themed ball from start to finish. They Walk. They Serve. They Live to Slay.

The Greatest Space (wt), a 10-episode epic design competition show, will feature interior designers traveling around the world to transform an eclectic mix of empty rooms into spectacular spaces. In each one-hour episode, pairs of professional designers will head out on a country-hopping adventure, traveling to a new city in search of their canvas. Along the way, challenges will force them to lift directly from some of the most glamorous, audacious and ambitious rooms all around the world. From ballrooms to bedrooms to treehouses and everything in between, competitors battle to win the judges’ favor. High stakes, surprises, language barriers and exotic locales await these designers, along with unpredictable eliminations. But, if they can hold on, the dwindling designers will gain access to larger, more surprising and more imaginative spaces, in pursuit of a substantial cash prize.

Legendary is executive produced by Scout Productions’ Emmy® Award-winning team David Collins, Michael Williams and Rob Eric (Queer Eye) along with Renata Lombardo and Shant Tutunjian.

The Greatest Space (wt) is produced by New Media Collective (NMC) and Scout Productions with NMC’s Emmy® Award-winning Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri along with Mark Dziak (The Amazing Race), and Scouts’ David Collins, Michael Williams and Rob Eric serving as executive producers.

September 13, 2019 UPDATE:

Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong’o (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Disney)

HBO Max, a division of WarnerMedia Entertainment, today announced a straight-to-series order for “Americanah.” Based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel of the same name, “Americanah” is an epic story of a woman born in Nigeria who leaves for America and her extraordinary experiences with love, heartache, adversity and self-discovery. The 10-episode limited series will star Academy Award® winner Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”; “Black Panther”), with the pilot being written by showrunner Danai Gurira (“Black Panther”; “Avengers: Endgame”), who was nominated for a Tony Award® for writing the Broadway show “Eclipsed.”

“Through ‘Americanah,’ Chimamanda brought the African female voice into mainstream consciousness in an unprecedented way. It is intellectually incisive, indicting, yet full of humor, and riddled with humanity. She makes unheard voices familiar, universal and yet palpably specific,” said Gurira. “I am honored to bring her incredible novel to life on the screen. I’m thrilled to collaborate once again with Lupita who brings her astounding ability as a performer and producer shepherding this project, along with HBO MAX’s unbridled enthusiasm to bring this groundbreaking narrative to the TV audience.”

“Americanah has been a passion project for me since I read Chimamanda’s beautiful novel in 2013. It’s a tale that is simultaneously timely and timeless,” said Nyong’o. “HBO Max is the perfect partner to bring this profound and celebrated story to life, and I’m thrilled that Danai will bring to the project her intelligence, wit, and understanding of the stories and the worlds of Americanah.”

Americanah tells the story of Ifemelu (Nyong’o), a young, beautiful, self-assured woman raised in Nigeria, who as a teenager falls in love with her classmate Obinze. Living in a military-ruled country, they each depart for the west, with Ifemelu heading for America, where, despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple for the first time with what it means to be black. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous undocumented life in London. A highly lauded tale that has become a leader in the cultural conversation, “Americanah” is an incredible exploration of the human experience that crosses three continents to give an empathetic, compelling view of the complex realities of race, politics, immigration and identity.

The series will be executive produced by Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o for Eba Productions, Plan B Entertainment, Andrea Calderwood (“Generation Kill”) for Potboiler Television, Didi Rea and Danielle Del for D2 Productions, and Nancy Won (“Jessica Jones”).

September 15, 2019 UPDATE:

“The Big Bang Theory” (Photo courtesy of CBS)

HBO Max, the upcoming streaming platform from WarnerMedia set to launch in the spring of 2020, has secured the first-ever U.S. streaming rights to all 12 seasons of the massive comedy hit “The Big Bang Theory.” All 279 episodes will be available on HBO Max when it launches in spring of 2020. In addition, TBS has extended its agreement to continue airing the show through 2028.

September 19, 2019 UPDATE:

Building upon its expanding original film roster, HBO Max has confirmed production of “UNpregnant,” adapted from the young adult HarperCollins novel authors Jenni Hendriks (“How I Met Your Mother”) and Ted Caplan (music editor for “The Hate U Give,” “The Greatest Showman”). From PICTURESTART and Berlanti Productions, the film offers a mix of humor and grounded human emotion as it tackles complicated friendships and the difficult road to adulthood, all while in a stolen El Camino. Starting production in New Mexico this fall, Emmy® winner Rachel Lee Goldenberg (“Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis,” “The Mindy Project”) has signed on to direct.

“Unpregnant” tells the story of seventeen-year-old Veronica (Haley Lu Richardson), who never thought she’d want to fail a test—that is, until she finds herself staring at a piece of plastic with two solid pink lines. With a promising college-bound future now disappearing before her eyes, Veronica considers a decision she never imagined she’d have to make. This tough and never-taken-lightly decision leads her on a 900+ mile road trip to New Mexico over three days with her ex-best friend Bailey (Barbie Ferreira), where they discover that one of the most important factors in your life is who your friends are.

“When the opportunity to produce a film based on ‘UNpregnant’ arose in partnership with the incomparable Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Erik Feig, I knew HBO Max was the right place for this story,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. “We want to create authentic, relevant films that are told with grace and humor to serve our young adult audience, and this is exactly that.”

Berlanti Productions, led by Greg Berlanti (“Love, Simon,” “Arrow,” “Riverdale,” “The Flash”), Sarah Schechter (“Supergirl,” “Riverdale”) and Michael McGrath will executive produce alongside PICTURESTART’s Erik Feig (“The Twilight Saga,” “The Hunger Games” franchise, “La La Land”), Lucy Kitada (“The Babysitters Club”) and Jessica Switch (“Nerve”). This is the inaugural film within Berlanti’s overall HBO Max film deal.

About Haley Lu Richardson
Haley Lu Richardson can next be seen in Kogonada’s “After Yang” opposite Colin Farrell. She recently starred in “Five Feet Apart” opposite Cole Sprouse for CBS Films. She starred in Kogonada’s highly-acclaimed “Columbus,” which premiered at Sundance in 2017 to rave reviews. Haley was nominated for Best Actress at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, and the film also received Independent Spirit Awards nominations for Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay and Best Cinematography.

She was most recently seen in writer-director Chris Weitz’s “Operation Finale,” in which she stars with Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley. Haley also stars as legendary silent screen star Louise Brooks in “The Chaperone” for Julian Fellowes, which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Her film “Support the Girls,” directed by Andrew Bujalski, premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and recently received nominations for Gotham and Independent Spirit Awards.

Haley is repped by 3 Arts Entertainment, Gersh, and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.

About Barbie Ferreira
Barbie Ferreira is best known for her role as Kat on the HBO hit show “Euphoria.” The show marked her return to HBO having previously appeared on Sarah Jessica Parker’s, “Divorce.” Time Magazine named Ferreira one of the Most Influential Teens globally for her influence in giving a platform to women on topics like self-empowerment, representation, and body diversity in fashion. Ferreira also starred in her own Vice series exploring facets of social etiquette entitled “How to Behave,” for which she won a Webby Award as Best Web Personality/Host.

She is repped by Aperture Talent Agency, Authentic Talent and Literary Management, and Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson.

September 27, 2019 UPDATE:

Ellen DeGeneres (Photo by Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.)

HBO Max, the upcoming direct-to-consumer offering from WarnerMedia set to launch in the spring of 2020, has teamed up with Emmy® Award Winner Ellen DeGeneres, ordering three original shows straight to series: “Ellen’s Home Design Challenge,” “First Dates Hotel,” and “Little Ellen,” as well as docu-series “Finding Einstein” in development. DeGeneres announced the pickups today on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and didn’t stop there. She also surprised her audience with a two-year HBO Max subscription in celebration of the news.

“Ellen is a singular talent, and a powerhouse, creative triple-threat that we are lucky to have now bringing her talents to bear on behalf of HBO Max,” said Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer, HBO Max and president, TNT, TBS, and truTV. “Ellen’s flair for home design and matchmaking will most certainly inspire and delight – but HBO Max is full service, so as not to leave the kids out she’s bringing them back to the hilarious misadventures of her childhood in an imaginative animated series.”

Ellen DeGeneres added, “I’m very excited to bring my new shows to HBO Max. I don’t know who Max is, but I can’t wait to work with him.”

In “Ellen’s Home Design Challenge,” design aficionado DeGeneres is giving eight forward-thinking designers the chance to push their creativity to the limit. DeGeneres will be on hand to weigh in on each challenge and provide humorous, colorful commentary. The series is produced by Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television and A. Smith & Co. Productions in association with Telepictures and A Very Good Production, with DeGeneres, Jeff Kleeman and Arthur Smith serving as executive producers.

“Little Ellen” is a 2D animated children’s show that explores the world through the eyes of a hilarious and unpredictable seven-year-old Ellen DeGeneres. On her adventures in her musical hometown of New Orleans, Little Ellen takes big risks and makes big mistakes, but she’s always able to laugh at herself and bounce back when things don’t go as planned. The 40-episode quarter-hour series is produced by Warner Bros. Animation and Ellen Digital Ventures. DeGeneres, Kevin A. Leman II, and Sam Register serve as executive producers. Jennifer Skelly is a co-executive producer and Jason Blackman is a producer.

“First Dates Hotel” takes matchmaking to new heights. Based on the hit UK format devised by Twenty Twenty Productions, Ltd., this charming dating series set at an affluent boutique hotel will find single people from multiple generations gathering for an intensive and tailor-made romantic experience. After fun, amusing and potentially disastrous dates at the hotel restaurant, poolside and under the stars, if the potential lovers like each other, they can choose to stay on for a second date in the hopes of finding out if they’re ultimately a match. Produced by Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television in association with Shed Media, A Very Good Production and Twenty Twenty Productions Limited, DeGeneres, Jeff Kleeman, Pam Healey, and Dan Peirson will serve as executive producers on the project. Previous seasons of the UK series “First Dates” and “First Dates Hotel” will also be available on HBO Max.

Currently in development, “Finding Einstein” is an inspiring docu-series, blessed by the Einstein estate, that will seek out, celebrate and support a fresh generation of Einsteins. Some may be a stone’s throw away …others may be in a tiny village halfway around the world…all of them are motivated to live up to Einstein’s ideal of changing the world for the better. The series is executive produced by Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television in association with Telepictures and A Very Good Production, with DeGeneres, Kleeman and Todd Goldman serving as executive producers.

October 9, 2019 UPDATE:

HBO Max continues to expand its storehouse of exceptional content by ordering 8 episodes each of two unscripted kids competition series, Karma and Craftopia. Karma, an hour-long series, will be hosted by Michelle Khare, an extreme lifestyle enthusiast with almost 2 million followers on YouTube, and Craftopia, a half-hour series, will be hosted by Lauren Riihimaki, aka LaurDIY, one of YouTube’s top creators with over 21 million followers across all her social platforms. Both social media gurus are known for inspiring their followers to think creatively and follow their dreams.

“We are giving kids an opportunity to show us their absolute best as they strive for excellence in both challenging and creative situations,” said Jennifer O’Connell, executive vice president, original content, HBO Max. “With Michelle and Lauren at the helms, we are aiming to surprise and delight our young viewers. These shows are incredible additions to our growing list of HBO Max kids originals.”

Karma, currently in production, takes 16 contestants, ranging in age from 12 to 15, completely off the grid to solve puzzles and overcome physical challenges, with the laws of karma setting the rules. This adventure competition series hosted by YouTube sensation Michelle Khare, will test the mental and physical stamina of its young contestants as they unravel how their social actions impact their success in the game. Focus, giving, humility, growth, connection, change and patience are the path to becoming the “Karma Champion.” But more importantly, the players learn one of life’s most profound lessons: “What you give out, you get back.”

Karma is executive produced by JD Roth, Adam Greener and Sara Hansemenn for GoodStory Entertainment with Fred Pichel serving as showrunner and executive producer.

“After over 30 years of making kids television, this partnership with HBO Max has given me the ability to make a show about something important — Karma,” said Roth. “Teaching kids that the energy you put in is the energy you can expect to get back has been transformative. This show is a rare opportunity to entertain while teaching and I’m loving every minute of it!”

Craftopia is an epic kids crafting competition show hosted and executive produced by Lauren Riihimaki,  who was deemed the “millennial Martha Stewart” by Forbes. On Craftopia, 9-to-15-year old contestants put their imaginations to the test and make their crafting dreams come true in a magical studio. After racing to fill up their carts with inspiring materials from the studio “store,” crafters meet larger-than-life challenges, making the most amazing creations the world has ever seen. Production will begin later this year.

Craftopia is executive produced by Rhett Bachner and Brien Meagher for B17 Entertainment.

“Kids are so incredibly inventive. They look at an empty cardboard box and a paper towel roll and see a pirate ship with a telescope.” said Bachner and Meagher. “So with Craftopia, we are thrilled to work with HBO Max to see what happens when we give ingenious kids a store full of every material imaginable.”

October 15, 2019 UPDATE:

“Grease: Rydell High” (Image courtesy of HBO Max)

HBO Max has ordered Grease: Rydell High, a musical series inspired by the 1978 Golden Globe® nominated film Grease. A joyous musical series set in and around the world of Rydell High, the show reimagines the global smash hit movie with some characters you already know, and a whole lot more you will soon meet.  It’s still the 1950s, a world that rocks with big musical numbers from the period combined with new original songs as well. It’s the peer pressures of high school, the horrors of puberty, and the rollercoaster of life in middle America with a modern sensibility that will bring it to life for today’s musical lovers.

“Grease is an iconic pop-culture phenomenon that works for every generation, and I’m thrilled that our friends at Paramount were excited about the idea of opening up the show and putting it on a larger canvas for a weekly series,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. “This is high school and life in small-town USA told on the scale of a big rock’n’roll musical. It’s Grease 2.0 but with the same spirit, energy, and excitement you immediately think of when you hear any of these iconic songs. You’re the One That I Want!

Said Nicole Clemens, President of Paramount Television, “Grease is one of the most beloved Paramount titles and it’s a thrill to be re-imagining it for today’s audience with our good friends at Temple Hill and Picturestart. When Bob Greenblatt called about bringing it to television, we knew we would be in the perfect hands because of our great working relationship with HBO Max and Bob’s genuine passion for musicals and Grease in particular.”

Picturestart and Temple Hill will serve as executive producers and Paramount Television and Picturestart will produce the series. Additionally, Temple Hill, Picturestart and Paramount Pictures are in development on a feature film prequel to Grease, entitled Summer Lovin’. 

October 16, 2019 UPDATE:

HBO Max pays tribute to the epic origin stories of the LGBTQ+ movement with EQUAL, a masterful four-part docu-series that captures the gripping and true backstories of the leaders and unsung heroes, pre-Stonewall, who changed the course of American history through their tireless activism. These warriors gave voice, often in a life or death battle, to millions of people yearning for equality and the desire to be themselves.

Each hour-long episode in the series plays like a thriller, bringing to life the high stakes and hard deadlines of historical events that have not yet been given their due. EQUAL honors the rebels of yesteryear through high-end re-enactments, never-before-seen footage, and captures the emotions of the times with messages just as relevant today.

Over the course of the series, viewers will meet a wide range of LGBTQ+ pioneers, including: Harry Hay, a gay rights activist and the founder of the modern gay movement; The Daughters of Bilitis, a lesbian civil and political rights organization; Christine Jorgensen, transgender woman who flew to Europe in 1951 to undergo sex reassignment surgery and publicly transitioned; and gay rights and African American rights leader Bayard Rustin. Part four chronicles The Stonewall Riots from start to finish as well as the first Pride, the year after Stonewall.

“In June, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which shepherded in a new era for LGBTQ+ pride. While we know the story behind that fateful summer night, there’s a lot of fascinating, untold history of the patriots, artists, and thinkers who paved the way,” said Jennifer O’Connell, Executive Vice President of Original Non-fiction and Kids Programming, HBO Max. “It’s time to share their heroic tales, and we could not have more perfect partners in Jim Parsons, Greg Berlanti, Jon Jashni and Scout to introduce our HBO Max audience to these historical trailblazers.”

“We are extremely proud to partner with these groundbreaking producers on a subject this important, at a time this critical,” said Mike Darnell, President, Unscripted & Alternative Television at Warner Bros. “What a perfect project to launch Warner Horizon Unscripted Television’s new documentary series unit.”

EQUAL is executive produced and led by Scout Productions’ Emmy Award-winning team David Collins, Academy Award® winner Michael Williams (The Fog of War) and Rob Eric (Queer Eye) and Joel Chiodi along with Emmy nominated Berlanti Productions’ Greg Berlanti (Love, SimonArrowRiverdale, The Flash) and Sarah Schechter (SupergirlRiverdale), Emmy and Golden Globe® winner Jim Parsons (The Big Bang TheoryThe Normal Heart, The Boys in the Band) and Emmy nominee Todd Spiewak (SpecialYoung Sheldon, A Kid Like Jake) from That’s Wonderful Productions, Jon Jashni (Lost in Space) from Raintree Ventures, and Mike Darnell and Brooke Karzen, Warner Horizon Unscripted Television.

October 17, 2019 UPDATE:

HBO Max will bring the wonder of Japan’s legendary, Oscar®-winning animation house, Studio Ghibli, to its slate of premium content that will be available at launch in the spring of 2020. HBO Max will be the US streaming home to the entire Studio Ghibli film library, one of the world’s most coveted and revered animation catalogues. The landmark deal with North American distributor GKIDS for the twenty-one Studio Ghibli feature films marks the first time these beloved films have been licensed to a streaming platform.

Available at launch of the service will be the Academy Award®-winning Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Ponyo, Castle in the Sky, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya and more.

“Studio Ghibli films are visually breathtaking, completely immersive experiences” said Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer, HBO Max and President, TNT, TBS, and truTV. “Exciting, enchanting, and deeply humanistic, these wonderful films have captured people’s hearts around the world, and we are proud to showcase them in an accessible way for even more fans through HBO Max.”

“We are excited to be working with HBO Max to bring the complete collection of Studio Ghibli films to streaming audiences in the US. As a premium content brand, HBO Max is an ideal home for our films,” said Koji Hoshino, Chairman of Studio Ghibli.  “Upon launch of the service this spring, existing Ghibli fans will be able enjoy their favorites and delve deeper into the library, while whole new audiences will be able to discover our films for the first time.”

Studio Ghibli is one of the most acclaimed and influential animation studios in the world, inspiring filmmakers and audiences alike over the last 30 years with beloved stories and breathtaking visuals. Under the brilliance of visionary animation directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, and producer Toshio Suzuki, the studio’s films have won countless international awards, including an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature for Spirited Away, as well as four additional Academy Award® nominations for Howl’s Moving CastleThe Wind RisesThe Tale of The Princess Kaguya, and When Marnie Was There. Director and studio co-founder Hayao Miyazaki was separately given an Honorary Award at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Awards in 2014, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will pay tribute to his artwork with a special exhibit when the Museum opens in 2020.

Studio Ghibli’s acclaimed catalog of films include:

Castle in the Sky
The Cat Returns
From Up On Poppy Hill
Howl’s Moving Castle
Kiki’s Delivery Service
My Neighbor Totoro
My Neighbors the Yamadas
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Ocean Waves
Only Yesterday
Pom Poko
Ponyo
Porco Rosso
Princess Mononoke
The Secret World of Arrietty
Spirited Away
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya
Tales From Earthsea
When Marnie Was There
Whisper of the Heart
The Wind Rises (launching Fall 2020)


About Studio Ghibli
Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 by animation directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and is one of the most successful and well-respected animation studios in the world. Cultivating a creative force of talented directors, animators, and storytellers under the revered brilliance of Miyazaki and Takahata, Studio Ghibli’s films have been praised for their originality, dazzling animation, and epic storytelling. The films have become a beloved part of Japanese popular culture and have garnered worldwide acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away won the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature of 2002 and in 2005 Miyazaki was named one of “the most influential people” by TIME Magazine.

About GKIDS
GKIDS is a producer and distributor of award-winning feature animation for both adult and family audiences. Since 2010, the company has scored eleven Best Animated Feature Oscar® nominations for their titles, including eight in the past six years. Current and upcoming releases include Promare from Studio TRIGGER and Weathering With You from director Makoto Shinkai. GKIDS also handles North American distribution for the famed Studio Ghibli library of films, one of the world’s most coveted animation collections with titles Spirited AwayMy Neighbor TotoroPrincess Mononoke and others. GKIDS is the producer of ANIMATION IS FILM, an annual animation film festival taking place Oct 18-20, 2019 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood.
gkids.com  animationisfilm.com

October 17, 2019 UPDATE:

Melissa McCarthy (Photo by Todd Williamson/E! Entertainment)

Adding to its slate of premium content from leading industry powerhouses, HBO Max has picked up Superintelligence, an original film starring beloved Oscar-nominated actress Melissa McCarthy (Spy, The Heat, Bridesmaids). Directed by Ben Falcone (Life of the PartyTammy) and written by Steve Mallory (The Boss), the comedy is slated to premiere on HBO Max when the service launches in Spring 2020.

With a star-studded cast, including Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man and the Wasp, upcoming Motherless Brooklyn), Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta, Widows), Jean Smart (Fargo, Life Itself) and James Corden (upcoming Cats, Peter Rabbit, Into the Woods), Superintelligence tells the story of Carol Peters (McCarthy), to whom nothing extraordinary ever happens. But when she starts getting snarky backtalk from her TV, phone and microwave, she thinks she’s being punked. Or losing her mind. In fact, the world’s first superintelligence has selected her for observation, taking over her life…with a bigger, more ominous plan to take over everything. Now Carol is humanity’s last chance before this artificial intelligence-with-an-attitude decides to pull the plug.

“We used the A.I. from Superintelligence to look at every single platform in the world, and then used its super knowledge and big artificial brain-like thing to determine that HBO Max was the right home for our film,” laughed McCarthy and Falcone.

“This is the perfect high concept comedy with an artist we all love to work with, and shows the top caliber of talent we’re bringing to HBO Max,” said Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer, HBO Max and President, TNT, TBS and truTV.

“The pairing of HBO Max with the tremendous talent of Melissa and Ben demonstrates the advantage of collaboration across WarnerMedia, and our ability to work with our creative partners to determine the distribution platform that will deliver the greatest success for their projects,” said Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

Falcone and McCarthy also produced Superintelligence, alongside Rob Cowan, whose credits include the Falcone/McCarthy comedy Tammy and the Conjuring films.

October 18, 2019 UPDATE:

Gary Janett and Brad Goreski (Photo courtesy of Brad Goreski)

HBO Max, the upcoming direct-to-consumer offering from WarnerMedia set to launch in spring of 2020, has ordered a lifestyle follow-doc series Brad & Gary Go To… (working title). The six-episode series will follow Hollywood power couple, Brad Goreski and Gary Janetti, as they go on a jet-setting culinary adventure around the globe, inspired by their Instagram stories.

“Brad and Gary have become an Internet sensation and it was actually their over one million followers who requested this series. These same fans also helped turn Gary’s go to Starbucks order into a viral sensation known as ‘The Gary.’ said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max.We can’t wait to travel the world with them and capture their fabulousness and hilarity.”

Brad Goreski is one of the hottest celebrity stylists in the industry and his A-list clients are a fixture on “Best Dressed” lists. From The Rachel Zoe Project to his own show on Bravo It’s a Brad Brad World to Fashion Police and Live from the Red Carpet Brad has become a trusted expert in the fashion industry. He has traveled the world styling clients, photoshoots and campaigns and has served as the brand stylist for Kate Spade for four years.

Gary Janetti is an Emmy nominated producer and writer of Family GuyWill & Grace, and Vicious, among others.  His first book, Do You Mind If I Cancel? is set for release on October 22, 2019. Gary is currently making a lot of noise with his Instagram account garnering international media attention with his satire of British Royals through the eyes of young Prince George of Cambridge.

The series will be produced by Brad Goreski and Gary Janetti as well as Purveyors of Pop (Married to MedicineEx on the Beach, Lady Gang, and Real Housewives of Miami) and Entertainment One (eOne). Matt Anderson, Nate Green, and Cooper Green will serve as executive producers for Purveyors of Pop and Tara Long for (eOne).


Purveyors of Pop

Purveyors of Pop is an independent entertainment company producing cutting-edge programming across multiple platforms. Founded in 2010 by veteran executive producers Matt Anderson and Nate Green, POP specializes in programming at the forefront of the pop culture zeitgeist. Known for their string of hit TV series, the duo has developed and produced shows ranging from MTV’s The Ashlee Simpson Show to Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise, where they have executive produced over 200 episodes. Under the POP banner, the outfit has produced series for major cable networks including Bravo (Married To Medicine Atlanta/Los Angeles/Houston, Real Housewives of Miami), MTV (Ex On The Beach), E! (Lady Gang), VH1 (Love & Listings), Lifetime (Jordin Sparks: A Baby Story), and A&E (Psychic Tia).

About Entertainment One
Entertainment One Ltd. (LSE:ETO) is a global independent studio that specializes in the development, acquisition, production, financing, distribution and sales of entertainment content. The Company’s diversified expertise spans across film, television and music production and sales; family programming, merchandising and licensing; digital content; and live entertainment. Through its global reach and expansive scale, powered by deep local market knowledge, the Company delivers the best content to the world.

Entertainment One’s robust network includes international feature film distribution company Sierra/Affinity; Amblin Partners with DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, and Reliance Entertainment; Makeready with Brad Weston; unscripted television production companies Whizz Kid Entertainment, Renegade 83, and Daisybeck Studios; live entertainment leaders Round Room Live; world-class music labels Dualtone Music Group and Last Gang; innovative music platform Audio Network; and award-winning emerging content and technology studio Secret Location.

October 18, 2019 UPDATE:

Amy Schumer (Photo courtesy of Amy Schumer)

HBO Max, the upcoming direct-to-consumer offering from WarnerMedia set to launch in the spring of 2020, has ordered the documentary Expecting Amy (working title) from Emmy® Award Winner Amy Schumer.

The unfiltered documentary shows the struggle, strength and ambition that has made Schumer one of the singular comic voices of all time. It takes viewers behind-the-scenes as Schumer goes through an extraordinarily difficult pregnancy while touring to prepare for a stand-up special. From hospitalizations to going out in front of a crowd of thousands, to quiet moments at home with her family, Schumer shares it all. Beginning the day she found out she was pregnant, through the birth of her child, she showcases her incredible journey on the road, revealing just how challenging it can be working night after night, week after week, with no regrets or excuses. Expecting Amy (wt) offers a hilarious and raw 360 degree look at this new stage of her life. With her family and colleagues along for the ride to support her and keep her sane and balanced, she does it all with perseverance, heart and the priceless sense of humor she’s known for.

“Amy Schumer is an inspiration and this project is such an honest look at her experience being on the road while preparing for her special,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max.“Her willingness to showcase her immense vulnerability, during the most challenging time in her life, is both empowering and hilarious.”

”Women are warriors, every one of us. And I hope sharing my story brings more awareness to the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth,” said Schumer.

Produced by Schumer, Expecting Amy (wt) is being edited by Alexander Hammer, who previously edited Homecoming for Beyoncé.

 

October 21, 2019 UPDATE

Monica Lewinsky (Photo courtesy of A&E)

HBO Max has picked up the groundbreaking documentary 15 Minutes of Shame from executive producers Monica Lewinsky and Max Joseph (MTV’s Catfish). Produced by Six West, the documentary features Joseph with appearances by Lewinsky as they take an in-depth look at the public shaming epidemic in our culture and explore our collective need to destroy one another.

15 Minutes of Shame features well known, bold-faced names and is a timely, irreverent roller-coaster ride through the world of public shaming. Using follow-doc storytelling, social experiments, and the examination of social behavior, this documentary film will feature individuals from around the globe who have been publicly shamed – while exploring the bullies, the bystanders, the media, psychologists, politicians and experts in between. 15 Minutes of Shame is about one of the most pressing and unaddressed issues of modern life, brought to you by the people who know it best.

“Monica Lewinsky is an anti-bullying activist with unparalleled authority, making her the perfect partner for this project,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. “And Max’s strong advocacy for social justice and distinctive storytelling make him particularly well-suited to explore this complex modern phenomenon.”

Lewinsky’s impactful work includes her 2015 TED Talk “The Price of Shame,” which has garnered over 16 million views, as well as several award-winning anti-bullying campaigns including 2018’s “Defy the Name” and 2017’s Emmy-nominated “In Real Life.” Joseph is an award-winning filmmaker who has made over 100 shorts, commercials, and viral videos. He directed and co-wrote the feature film We Are Your Friends (acquired by Warner Bros in 2015) and his non-fiction work has been featured at Sundance, Telluride, SXSW, and the Cannes Creativity Festival where he won a Cannes Lion. Joseph co-hosted and executive produced MTV’s Catfish for seven seasons.

Steve Ascher and Kristy Sabat serve as executive producers for Six West.

October 21, 2019 UPDATE:

The Ho Family (Photo by Tuong Van Nguyen)

HBO Max cordially invites you into the opulent, over-the-top world of the Ho family with a series order for a new docu-series from Lionsgate TV, The Ho’s (working title). The inaugural season of this comedic, full-hearted doc style series in the spirit of Crazy Rich Asians will include 8 thirty-minute episodes.

Led by patriarch Binh Ho and his wife, Hue Ho, the power couple immigrated from Vietnam to the United States with little money, relying on hard work to establish the ultimate American dream. They have built a multi-million dollar bank, a real estate development company and a new generation of American Ho’s. The series pulls back the curtain of their lavish Houston lifestyle and showcases the tight family connections that unite them as well as the multi-generational outrageous drama that ensues. While Binh and Hue have laid down a golden foundation for their children, Judy Ho and Washington Ho (yes, named after the nation’s founding father and whose kids are named Lincoln and Roosevelt), they are not exempt from the constant pressure to achieve and to live up to their parents’ lofty expectations. Despite the power struggles, at the end of the day, the Ho household is filled with love, laughter, and a few designer handbags, of course.

“Rarely do you come across a family that is so rich in so many ways – not just in wealth, but in heart, traditions and love for each other,” said Jennifer O’Connell, Executive Vice President of Original Non-fiction and Kids Programming, HBO Max. “There’s great pride in being a Ho and they are ready to give the world a seat at their luxurious table.”

“The Ho family is wildly engaging and we’re very excited to partner with HBO Max in bringing this hilarious and exuberant series to viewers,” said Alice Dickens-Koblin, Lionsgate SVP and Head of Unscripted Programming.

The Ho family tree includes:

Binh Ho, 71, despite being the super strict patriarch of the Ho family, Binh has nothing but good intentions. Originally from Vietnam, his hard work has paid off and he is now the owner of a successful bank. Although Binh is living the ‘American Dream’ he feels the need to control every move his children make.

Hue Ho, 66, is Binh’s loving wife and the matriarch of the family. Hue is always the perfect looking, highly critical mom who thinks her children can do no wrong. She often defends the children when Binh seems unreasonable, especially over Washington’s hard-partying ways. Her love for her family is rivaled only by her love of cooking, which is on full display at the weekly Sunday dinner she hosts. The authentic Vietnamese fare is mouth-watering but the drama at the table is even juicier.

Judy Ho, 39, is the first born of Binh and Hue Ho. The self-pegged responsible and reliable one, Judy was the perfect candidate to become a lawyer and did so with flying colors as she is the consummate perfectionist. She is a mom to three kids and is going through a divorce.

Washington Ho, 38, is the “former” playboy of the family with a reputation of dating questionable women and partying way too hard. Once he met Lesley, his future wife who would eventually steal his heart, he was forced to settle down … a little. Now, he’s a devoted father of two adorable kids, Roosevelt and Lincoln, but all of this is about to change as he attempts to prove he’s a changed man and ready to step out of his father’s looming shadow – he just hasn’t quite figured out how.

Lesley Ho, 34, is Washington’s independent, outspoken, down-to-earth and loving Vietnamese-American wife who juggles being the mother of their two beautiful children with her career as a pharmacist. Growing up in a small town, middle-class family in Oklahoma, she’s had to adjust to the over the top lifestyle that comes with being a Ho.

Aunt Tina, 58, is the Aunt that likes to be noticed and makes sure that everybody does. From her purple streaked hair to her tight dresses, Aunt Tina is all about…well, Tina. She likes to work hard and play harder. As one of the younger immigrants of the Ho family, she grew up in Vietnam before following in her older brother’s footsteps and moving to America.

Cousin Sammy, 29, should probably have her life a little more together but instead, lives for the moment even if it doesn’t always work in her favor. Since she and Washington are so close, he decided to offer her a job as his head of marketing.

From Wallin Chambers Entertainment in association with Lionsgate Television, the series is executive produced by Katy Wallin and Stephanie Bloch Chambers. Amanda Ly and Rosalina Lydster serve as co-executive producers with casting by Peter Huntley. Wallin Chambers Entertainment and the Ho family are represented by UTA.

October 22, 2019 UPDATE:

Lisa Ling (Photo by Jeremy Freeman for CNN)

HBO Max has greenlit travel docuseries Birth, Wedding, Funeral as part of an overall deal with Lisa Ling. Each episode of the series will immerse viewers in a different country to reveal their cultures through the lens of the three universal rituals—births, weddings, and funerals. In a quest to understand what connects us and celebrate the diversity of deeply rooted customs around the world, each episode is a riveting investigation of the human experience in a specific region, and a dramatic dive into an intimate moment in the lives of the people who live there.

As host of CNN Original Series This is Life with Lisa Ling, currently airing its sixth season, this deal marks an expansion of Ling’s relationship with WarnerMedia. As part of her overall deal, HBO Max will have a first look at new projects she will continue to develop for the streamer.

“We are living in a deeply polarized world and I am elated for the opportunity to bring us closer to one another through stories about the most defining moments in people’s lives: their Births, Weddings and Funerals,” said Lisa Ling.

“As part of the CNN family, Lisa has carved out a unique space for herself using her style of gritty, investigative journalism to drive at the heart of every human story she tells,” said Jennifer O’Connell, executive vice president, original content, HBO Max. “Birth, Wedding, Funeral takes audiences on a global journey through a range of societies, exploring the rituals around three critical life events and we are eager to bring this illuminating storytelling to our HBO Max audience.”

The concept of Birth, Wedding, Funeral was created by legendary journalist Dan Rather, Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupre. The series is produced by Part2 Pictures, with Ling executive producing alongside Rather (60 Minutes, The Big Interview) and Philip Kim for News and Guts.

“Over the course of my many travels, I have always welcomed the chance to learn about the world’s varied cultures through how they experience life’s most intimate and transformative benchmarks,” said Dan Rather. “I am thrilled that Lisa, a skilled and compassionate storyteller, will bring these moments into our homes and allow us to renew our faith in the common bonds of humanity.”

October 23, 2019 UPDATE:

(Image courtesy of HBO Max)

HBO Max is re-crystallizing the Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning smash hit Adventure Time greenlighting four new one-hour specials titled Adventure Time: Distant Lands that will premiere exclusively on HBO Max with the first two set to debut on the streamer in 2020.

These four new specials will continue the Adventure Time stories that captured imaginations and introduced unlikely heroes Finn and Jake, best buds who traversed the mystical Land of Ooo and encountered its colorful inhabitants.

“The enchanted world of Adventure Time has mesmerized viewers and critics alike as Finn and Jake right wrongs and battle evil,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. “The addition of these specials to the HBO Max kids and family programming lineup is sure to make kids everywhere say ‘Slam-bam-in-a-can!’”

The first two specials, BMO and Obsidian are set to premiere on the streamer in 2020 followed by Wizard City and Together Again.

  • BMO follows the lovable little robot from Adventure Time. When there’s a deadly space emergency in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, there’s only one hero to call, and it’s probably not BMO. Except that this time it is!
  • Obsidian features Marceline & Princess Bubblegum as they journey to the imposing, beautiful Glass Kingdom—and deep into their tumultuous past—to prevent an earthshaking catastrophe.
  • Wizard City follows Peppermint Butler, starting over at the beginning, as just another inexperienced Wizard School student. When mysterious events at the campus cast suspicion on Pep, and his checkered past, can he master the mystic arts in time to prove his innocence?
  • Together Again brings Finn and Jake together again, to rediscover their brotherly bond and embark on the most important adventure of their lives.

Adventure Time was a groundbreaking series and a creative playground for so many talented creative artists,” said Rob Sorcher, Chief Content Officer, Cartoon Network Studios. “Producing Adventure Time: Distant Lands for HBO Max will allow our studio to explore this beloved world in an all-new format.”

Created by Pendleton Ward and executive produced by Adam Muto, Adventure Time is a critically decorated show that garnered numerous entertainment awards and cultivated a generation of talent who have helmed such hits as Steven Universe, Over the Garden Wall, and Clarence. Adventure Time: Distant Lands is produced by Cartoon Network Studios.

October 24, 2019 UPDATE:

“gen:LOCK” (Image courtesy of Rooster Teeth)

HBO Max as picked up gen:LOCK for a second season following its success as Rooster Teeth’s newest animated series. Starring Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Black Panther), the half-hour animated series focuses on a near-future dystopia undergoing a new, technologically driven world war. gen:LOCK originally premiered on Rooster Teeth. Season 2 of gen:LOCK will premiere on HBO Max and 90 days later will be available on Rooster Teeth for FIRST members.

Fifty years in the future, gen:LOCK tells the story of an oppressive authoritarian force that threatens to conquer the world. A daring team is recruited to pilot a new form of devastating mecha, but they must be willing to sacrifice everything to save the world.

Dakota Fanning (The Alienist, Twilight Saga), Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones, Early Man, New Mutants), Golshifteh Farahani (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales), and David Tennant (Jessica Jones, Dr. Who) are all set to return to the series along with Jordan.

“We are proud to bring gen:LOCK’s bold vision, inventive style, and extraordinary cast to HBO Max, and to build on the success that our partners at Rooster Teeth and Outlier Society have crafted so skillfully,” said Billy Wee, senior vice president original animation, HBO Max.

“We’re beyond excited to be producing a second season of gen:LOCK for HBO Max,” said Matt Hullum, co-founder and Chief Content Officer at Rooster Teeth. “Billy Wee and the team at HBO Max have been incredibly supportive in the development process, and we’re thrilled to be working closely with them on this project. We were blown away by the response to the first season of this show, both by the Rooster Teeth community and the Adult Swim audience, and cannot wait to bring it to more fans of action, sci-fi, and mecha animation.”

gen:LOCK is executive produced by Michael B. Jordan and Alana Mayo of Outlier Society, along with Rooster Teeth’s Matt Hullum and Ryan P. Hall. The series is produced by Rooster Teeth’s in-house animation studio.

October 24, 2019 UPDATE:

HBO Max has greenlit four original unscripted projects from CNN for the streamer. The slate includes Heaven’s Gate and Generation Hustle (wt) from CNN Original Series and two feature-length documentaries, The Scoop and Persona (wt) from CNN Films – each offering a compelling lens through which the modern world comes into focus.

“We are tremendously inspired by CNN’s history of award-winning documentary storytelling and journalistic integrity,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. “This slate of projects with CNN demonstrates our power as a media family to create quality programming that covers the captivating and critical issues of today.”

“We are so pleased to produce original nonfiction projects with HBO Max and to release new content from CNN Films and CNN Original Series via a streaming partner that complements our brands and creative goals,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide.  “We look forward to partnering on future projects as well.”

Heaven’s Gate is an intimate, four-part HBO Max original from CNN Original Series that explores the infamous religious movement and the stranger-than-fiction circumstances that culminated in the biggest mass suicide to ever take place on U.S. soil. It is a raw, honest depiction of the shared experiences of those directly involved with the group, and those closely affected by it. Directed and executive produced by Clay Tweel, Heaven’s Gate is produced by Campfire, the scripted and nonfiction production company from prolific television and film producer Ross Dinerstein (The Innocent Man, 2018; Stephen King’s 1922, 2017), and Chris Bannon, Eric Spiegelman, Peter Clowney, and Erik Diehn for the digital media company Stitcher (Heaven’s Gate podcast, Sold in America podcast).

Generation Hustle (w.t.) is a 10-part HBO Max original from CNN Original Series about the lengths young people will go to for fame, fortune, and power. From the Academy Award- and Emmy® Award-winning Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions (The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, 2019; Death Row Stories for CNN Original Series, 2014; Dirty Money, 2018), the series will be executive produced by Yon Motskin, Stacey Offman, and Richard Perello.

The Scoop (w.t.) is a documentary feature produced by CNN Films and will follow the exhilarating and exhausting lives of CNN’s fearless female political reporters as they cover the most unpredictable presidential campaign in American history. This behind-the- scenes documentary draws from unprecedented access to the campaign press corps and reveals how these powerhouse political reporters deal with the candidates as well as with the challenges of life on the road.

Persona (w.t.) is a documentary feature produced by CNN Films that explores the riveting and unexpected origin story of America’s obsession with personality testing.  Embedded in everything from dating sites to job applications, Persona reveals the profound ways personality testing has formed and influenced the world around us.

“Full Bloom” stars, from left to right: judges Maurice Harris and Elizabeth Cronin with host Simon Lycett. (Photo credits left to right: Maurice Harris, Marta Sasinowska and Mark Waugh)

HBO continues to blossom ordering Full Bloom, an eight-episode, hour long competition series featuring 10 of America’s budding florists vying to be crowned America’s best.

With incredible artistic creations and floristry face-offs, Full Bloom will allow audiences to escape into a surreal world as contestants will design and execute some of the most wondrous, Wonka-esq floral creations ever seen. Each episode features themed challenges centered around a unique stem of the floristry world including fashion, art, events and weddings. Contestant’s designs and creations will be mentored and judged by legendary floristry artists Maurice Harris, Elizabeth Cronin with celebrity florist Simon Lycett serving as host.

Full Bloom will transport viewers into the intricate and fantastically colorful word of competitive floristry,” said Jennifer O’Connell, executive vice president, original content, HBO Max. “HBO Max is the trellis for this series to bloom and shine the light on this incredibly beautiful art form.”

“We are thrilled to be working with HBO Max and some of the best floristry artists in the world in this celebration of creativity, color and competition” said Chris Culvenor, CO-CEO of Eureka productions. “It’s a series that lets imagination blossom.”

HBO Max along with the cast and crew of Full Bloom are committed to using all the fantastic creations from this series to brighten someone’s day. At the end of each episode, unsuspecting people will be surprised with a floral extravaganza that we hope inspires everyone to always find time to stop and smell the roses.

Full Bloom is created and produced by Eureka Productions with Chris Culvenor, Paul Franklin and Wes Dening serving as executive producers.

October 25, 2019 UPDATE:

Anthony Bourdain (Photo courtesy of CNN)

CNN Films, HBO Max, and Focus Features are partnering for a documentary film about the uncommon life of the late storyteller, explorer, and chef, Anthony Bourdain, to be directed and produced by Academy Award-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom). Focus Features will first release the documentary exclusively in theaters worldwide before the film premieres on television on CNN and streams via HBO Max. CNN Films and HBO Max will executive produce the film. Neville’s Tremolo Productions will produce the film.

“Morgan is the top of the game when it comes to documentary filmmaking and we’re delighted to be working with him again on this project with our great collaborators at CNN Films and HBO Max,” said Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski.

“We are thrilled that Morgan will bring his singular voice to this film, revealing what we loved so much about Tony. Partnering with Focus Features and HBO Max ensures even more of Tony’s devoted fans will be able to celebrate him,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development, on behalf of CNN Films.

“Anthony Bourdain did more to help us understand each other than just about anyone in the history of television. He connected with people not in spite of his flaws, but because of them. To have the opportunity to tell his story is humbling. CNN is in the DNA of Tony’s work, and the perfect partners in this journey. I’m thrilled to be re-teaming with Focus Features after our journey on Won’t You Be My Neighbor?. I am also happy that HBO Max will make sure Tony’s audience only continues to grow,” said Neville.

Neville has spent more than 20 years making documentary films that illuminate and explore the struggles and triumphs of the human condition. In addition to his Oscar®-winning ’20 Feet from Stardom,’ Neville‘s highly acclaimed body of work also includes the Emmy® Award-winning Best of Enemies (2015) and the Emmy® Award-nominated The Music of Strangers (2015). Neville’s extraordinary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the number one highest-grossing biodoc of all time about Fred Rogers, was also distributed by Focus Features.

“It requires a filmmaker as expert and prolific as Morgan Neville to capture the essence of a raconteur and world explorer like Anthony Bourdain,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. “We are honored to partner with CNN Films and Focus Features on this project that is so close to all of our hearts and give viewers the opportunity to celebrate his legacy.”

This project is the third announced film collaboration between CNN Films and HBO Max. Previously announced features include The Scoop (wt) and Persona (wt). In addition to the worldwide theatrical distribution to be managed by Focus Features, the Bourdain documentary will premiere for television on CNN, and HBO Max will stream the film for its subscribers. WarnerMedia is the parent corporation for HBO Max and CNN.

For five years, Bourdain brought a relentless authenticity to his work for CNN, through Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown (CNN Original Series) and CNN Films. Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown was honored with 36 Primetime Emmy® Award nominations and 12 wins, and a George Foster Peabody Award. Bourdain also executive produced a theatrical documentary with CNN Films about a chef who inspired him, Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent, in 2016.

Lydia Tenaglia and Christopher Collins, founders of Zero Point Zero Production (ZPZ), creative collaborators with Bourdain for nearly two decades, including the series Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, will be consulting producers for the film. Kimberly Witherspoon, Bourdain’s longtime agent and literary executor, will also serve as a consulting producer. The Bourdain estate will provide access to family photos, home movies, letters, music, and other content that will add greater insights into his work and life.

“Having worked with Anthony Bourdain for close to 20 years, Chris Collins and I felt very protective over the story of his life and the decision on who to direct it. In Morgan Neville’s hands, we are sure to get a nuanced portrait of the complex, wildly creative man we knew,” Tenaglia said.

The deal between CNN Films and HBO Max and Focus Features was negotiated by Stacey Wolf, senior vice president of business affairs for CNN Worldwide, and Stephanie Schroeder, senior vice president for business affairs for direct-to-consumer content for WarnerMedia, on behalf of CNN Films and HBO Max, respectively, with Carol Smithson, vice president for business and legal affairs for Focus Features.

Recently, CNN Films executive produced the Todd Douglas Miller-directed and produced Apollo 11, an archival documentary exploring the historic NASA mission that resulted in humanity’s first steps on the moon and safe return home. The Rob Epstein-, Jeffrey Friedman-directed Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice about the life and musical journey of the legendary singer, also executive produced by CNN Films, is currently in theaters. Scandalous, about the history and cultural influence of the National Enquirer newspaper, is directed by Mark Landsman and will open in theaters Nov. 15.

 

Dominican Republic tourist deaths: Find out why so many visitors are dying

June 25, 2019

by Kevin Lucas

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana n Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (Photo courtesy of Hard Rock International)

The number of tourists suddenly dying in the Dominican Republic has hit alarming numbers. As of this writing, 11 U.S. tourists have died in the Dominican Republic from June 2018 to June 2019. Almost all of the deaths were reported as sudden. The people who died of ailments were those who had failure of internal organs, such as their heart or lungs. A few of the deaths were violent murders, while some passed away from car accidents. What all these tourists have in common is that they stayed at resorts in the Dominican Republic. The State Department has not released official information on U.S. citizens who died of natural causes in the Dominican Republic.

According to Business Insider, there has been a massive increase in complaints of tourists saying that they felt that they had been unintentionally poisoned while in the Bahamas. The website IWasPoisoned.com has received 1,600 complaints so far in 2019, compared to 10 in 2018. More than 700 complaints were traced back to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana.

Several of the people who suspected that they had been poisoned after consuming alcohol from their room’s minibars or by eating food served buffet style at these resorts.

A Hard Rock Hotel and Casino spokesperson told Business Insider: “The Ministry of Public Health in the Dominican Republic has released further information on the American tourists who passed away in 2019, including autopsy findings that reveal these deaths were unrelated and from natural causes and pre-existing conditions. We are deeply saddened by these unfortunate incidents, and extend our sincerest sympathy to the families of those affected. We will continue to respect the privacy of our guests and their families.”

According to CNN, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana has now removed alcoholic beverages from its minibars and started dispensing hand sanitizer for guests and face masks for staff members.

National Geographic announces food-and-travel show ‘Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted’

June 20, 2019

The following is a press release from National Geographic:

Gordon Ramsay is taking food as far as it can go in National Geographic’s new series Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, premiering Sunday, July 21, at 10/9c. The multi-Michelin-star chef and Ironman athlete embarks on a new exhilarating adventure around the globe.

From Peru, Laos and Morocco to Hawaii, Alaska and New Zealand, Ramsay will be roaring through valleys, diving into oceans, hiking through forests and scaling mountains in his relentless pursuit of culinary inspiration. Food and adventure programming is familiar ground for Ramsay, whose 2010 U.K. series for Channel 4, “Gordon’s Great Escapes,” saw the venerable chef explore the food culture of India and Southeast Asia.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted follows Ramsay as he meets with indigenous people around the globe to learn about the cultures, dishes and flavors unique to each location. Every ingredient he harvests and dish he tastes will inspire a new recipe from scratch, created to represent the heart of that culture. Each episode concludes with Ramsay challenging himself with a local food legend by his side – putting his newfound skills to the test as they cook a feast together for the natives. For Ramsay, food is the gateway to culture, and every adventure is a portal into the soul of the people and place.

“It’s been an amazing journey traveling off the beaten path with National Geographic and connecting with locals to learn and share incredible stories of unique traditions, delicacies and the extreme lengths it takes to harvest native ingredients,” said Ramsay. “I’ve learned way more filming this series than I have in the last 10 years.”

Among the adventures – culinary and otherwise – that Ramsay will take in the premiere season include:

· Trekking through a dense jungle in Laos to sample weaver ant eggs and diving through dangerous waters on the hunt for snails and giant water bugs

· Hunting for eels with his bare hands using traditional Maori techniques with a local fisherman by his side in New Zealand

· Working with local foragers to harvest Maui’s deadliest catch with homemade tools and spearfishing with legendary free diver Kimi Werner in Hawaii

· Climbing a sheer rock face during a snowstorm with a local forager to harvest native herbs in Alaska

· Rappelling down a raging waterfall to meet with local mushroom hunters in Morocco

· Hanging off a cliff in pursuit of cactus worms – a delicacy in Peru

The series will also air globally in 172 countries and 43 languages. Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted is produced by Studio Ramsay. Additional episodes of the series have already been ordered ahead of the summer premiere, with production set to resume this fall.

The summer episodes include:

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted – Peru’s Sacred Valley

Sunday, July 21, at 10/9c

Chef Gordon Ramsay travels by motorbike through Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas to discover traditional high-altitude cuisine. Immersing himself in local culture, he scales cliffs; fishes in high-altitude lakes; and samples local delicacies like fried worms, rare multicolored potatoes and guinea pig before putting his newfound skills to the test with legendary local chef Virgilio Martinez.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted – New Zealand’s Rugged South

Sunday, July 28, at 10/9c

Chef Gordon Ramsay journeys to the remote corners of southern New Zealand to unlock the secrets of traditional Maori cuisine. From the locals, he learns how to catch eels with his bare hands, free dives for prized Paua shellfish and forages for unique Kiwi ingredients before putting his new skills to the test at a Maori feast with up-and-coming chef Monique Fiso.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted – The Mountains of Morocco

Sunday, Aug. 4, at 10/9c

Chef Gordon Ramsay travels to Morocco, North Africa, where he embarks on an adventure deep in the Middle Atlas Mountains to understand ancient Berber cuisine. Learning from the locals, he rappels over a waterfall to meet mushroom hunters, milks a camel and experiences the life of the Berber people. He puts his new skills to the test, cooking a feast with chef Najat Kaanache to celebrate Berber New Year.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted – Hawaii’s Hana Coast

Sunday, Aug. 11, at 10/9c

Chef Gordon Ramsay travels to Maui, Hawaii, to explore the exotic ingredients of Hawaiian cuisine. In torrential rain, he travels along the treacherous Hana Highway. From the locals, he learns how to hunt deer with a bow, produce Hawaiian taro and spearfish with legendary free diver Kimi Werner. Gordon tests his knowledge at a feast with top Hawaiian chef Sheldon Simeon.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted – The Mighty Mekong of Laos

Sunday, Aug. 18, at 10/9c

Chef Gordon Ramsay travels to Laos, where he takes on a rapid stretch of white water, kayaking down the Mekong in search of culinary inspiration. Learning from the locals, he treks through dense jungle to sample eggs of the aggressive weaver ant, dives for freshwater snails and hunts for giant water bugs. Using his newly acquired skills, he cooks a banquet for monks at the local temple.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted – Alaska’s Panhandle

Sunday, Aug. 25 at 10/9c

Chef Gordon Ramsay journeys to the rugged Alaskan Panhandle to learn survival skills and discover Alaskan cuisine. On his adventure, he learns how to cook seal with a native Tlingit elder, climbs a sheer rock face in a snowstorm and goes grouse hunting before putting his newfound knowledge to the test at a feast with legendary local chef Lionel Uddipa.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted is produced by Studio Ramsay for National Geographic. For Studio Ramsay, executive producers are Gordon Ramsay, Elvia Van Es Olivia, Helen Cooke, Lisa Edwards and Jon Kroll. For National Geographic, executive producer is Betsy Forhan, vice president of production is Kevin Tao Mohs, and president of original programming and production is Geoff Daniels.

# # #

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between the National Geographic Society and Disney, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 131 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

About Gordon Ramsay/Studio Ramsay

Renowned for highly successful and award-winning original programming, Emmy-nominated, multi-Michelin-star chef Gordon Ramsay produces TV shows on both sides of the Atlantic that are seen by audiences worldwide, including his Fox shows “The F Word With Gordon Ramsay,” “Gordon’s Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back,” “MasterChef,” “MasterChef Junior,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “MasterChef Celebrity Showdown,” as well as Bravo’s “Best New Restaurant” and Food Network’s competition series “Food Court Wars.” In the U.K., he’s produced “Gordon Ramsay Behind Bars” and “Gordon’s Great Escape” for Channel 4; food biography and nostalgia series “My Kitchen” for UKTV’s Good Food Channel; two instructional cookery series, “Ultimate Home Cooking” and “Ultimate Cookery Course,” for Channel 4; and the first two seasons of “Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch,” all under his One Potato Two Potato banner. The next-generation multimedia production company Studio Ramsay was founded in 2016 by Ramsay and has a joint venture with All3Media to develop and produce both unscripted and scripted television shows, creating new formats and innovative programming that includes a scripted arm and development of new talent on a global front. Studio Ramsay’s first production was the live series “The F Word With Gordon Ramsay,” which premiered in the U.S. on Fox, and its second Fox series, “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back,” ranks as television’s No. 1 cooking show this season among A18-49 and total viewers. National Geographic Channel recently announced the pick-up of a second season of Studio Ramsay’s Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted ahead of the shows’ summer premiere. Production is set to resume this fall. Across the pond, Studio Ramsay produces the wildly successful, and BAFTA-nominated, “Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Road Trip” for ITV and the Channel 4 Series “Born Famous,” which is slated for release this summer. Studio Ramsay also currently has shows in production for the BBC and other top U.K. broadcasters. Its digital arm has launched its own successful interview series called “Scrambled” and produced content for National Geographic and its various properties. Its first daytime cooking series, “Culinary Genius,” premiered on ITV in the U.K. and was syndicated on Fox stations in the U.S. Ramsay’s documentary series, “Gordon on Cocaine,” premiered on ITV to critical acclaim. “Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch,” starring Tilly Ramsay for U.K. children’s channel CBBC, is also produced by Studio Ramsay. For more information, please visit www.gordonramsay.com or follow Gordon Ramsay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

W Hotels debuts reimagined W Atlanta – Midtown, W Atlanta – Buckhead and W Atlanta – Downtown

June 10, 2019

W Atlanta
W Atlanta – Midtown Living Room (Photo courtesy of Marriott International)

The following is a press release from Marriott International:

Georgia is on our mind. W Hotels Worldwide is excited to reveal major upgrades to each of the city’s three W hotels (W Atlanta – Midtown, W AtlantaBuckhead and W Atlanta – Downtown). Through the vision of talented design partners and the W brand’s own globally renowned design team, a collective of 750+ guestrooms, multiple bars and restaurants and more than 50,000 square feet of innovative meeting space will soon be revealed. These exciting changes in Atlanta are the first of several renovations expected to be completed at W Hotels across North America, as hotel owners are poised to invest $200+ million on renovations showcasing the next generation of W design.

Atlanta is exploding with culture, creativity and more visitors than ever before,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “From Superbowl LIII to the Peach Drop, Atlanta has solidified its place as a must-go destination for both domestic and international travelers. From its music and culture to its cuisine and architecture, it’s a city that is so diverse and unique we are able to have three distinct hotels within its parameters. We are excited to showcase our bold design with stunning new rooms, restaurants and upgrades to the hot spots our guests love.”

W Atlanta – Midtown As the first W hotel to open in Atlanta in 2009, the 466-room renovation at W Atlanta – Midtown is the first major revamp of the hotel in a decade. As one of the largest W locations in the world, this project marks one of the brand’s biggest single-hotel renovation projects in its 20-year history. The renovation – which just made its debut earlier this month –  sits alongside new culinary, retail and entertainment concepts coming to Colony Square, which is connected to the hotel.

Inspired by one of Atlanta’s best-known nicknames – the city in the woods – W Atlanta – Midtown  now sports a floral motif with a mod twist across its public spaces that includes the Living Room (W’s energetic & social take on the lobby/bar), Welcome Desk (Check-In) and patio. The open flow of the renovated spaces expands the hotel’s indoor and outdoor seating, ready to welcome locals and travelers to this bustling neighborhood.

Each of the hotel’s reimagined guestrooms (including 33 specialty suites) features playful décor, unique murals by Imaggo Production that are a nod to Atlanta as an epicenter of music and entertainment.

W AtlantaBuckhead
In partnership with Atlanta’s own C+TC Studio (who is designing the guest rooms and iconic rooftop bar, Whiskey Blue), interior designer STUDIO 11 (the visionaries behind the new Living Room), and the brand’s own design team, W AtlantaBuckhead is showing off its edgy, luxe look as of February 2019.

Celebrating the city’s passions for fashion, design, art and culture, the new design incorporates splashy artwork from local artists throughout the hotel including guestroom art by Lela Brunet, WET Deck (pool deck) mural by Greg Mike, Living Room and Whiskey Blue murals by Chris Veal.

The full-scale renovation of W AtlantaBuckhead adds a Welcome area, open layout and café-style seating (complete with DJ booth by night) to the Living Room. Here the eye-catching custom mural installation by artist Chris Veal is designed to be an Insta-worthy hit and photos taken in front of it are linked to the hotel’s Instagram account and displayed on the adjacent Polaroid-style screen to make guests and visitors a part of the art in real time.

Enhanced with vibrant colors, headboards, armoires, damask wallcoverings, 55-inch TVs, in-room Nespresso machines, expanded MIX Bars (W’s take on the minibar) and inspiring artwork, the hotel’s 286 guestrooms redefine comfort and playful luxury in the city. All specialty suites (four WOW Suites and one E-WOW Suite) also get special treatment with new artwork and lounge areas, chaises and cocktail cubbies.

The first phase of this renovation project saw the iconic rooftop bar Whiskey Blue reimagined in November 2018. Now the hotel is bringing a new spin to its signature restaurant, Cook Hall, which will re-open fall 2019. In addition, all 11,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space and FIT (gym) feature new furnishings, lighting, artwork and faster connections.

Local Motives Debuts at W Atlanta – Downtown
In a brilliant mash up of art, history and culture, Local Motives, the new restaurant at W Atlanta – Downtown, combines Atlanta’s BeltLine Project, a newfound symbol of revitalization in the city, with beloved street art and flavors as bold as the new look. To capture Atlanta’s creative spirit, local artist and Georgia native Eric Randall collaborated with Puccini Group’s designers to ground the project in an unmistakable sense of place. Randall was tasked with designing and painting large-scale graphics, including the 69’3″ x 9’6″ mural which spans six walls. The restaurant includes a buzzing bar, dining area, café with ample workspace and private dining room with an entrance inspired by Marta train doors. Each area is crafted with stone and concrete, reflecting the neighborhood’s storied industrialization, juxtaposed with pink pastels and vibrant blue hues.

Local Motives lives up to its name with Atlanta staples like Geechie Boy Red Grits and Cheddar (breakfast bowl) as well as luxe-modern indulgences like Beet Tartare, Charred Octopus and curated local selections of meats from Pine Street Market and ingredients from Pure Bliss Organics. Coffee blends are brewed at Docent Coffee, which roasts each batch right on Edgewood Avenue. Handcrafted concoctions at the bar give guests the option to detox or retox with fresh-pressed juices alongside decadent, spiked milkshakes.

These three projects are part of a collective $200 million+ in renovations across the W brand portfolio that is taking place across North America. Other projects include W Washington DC, W Boston, W San Francisco, W Miami and W Montreal.

For more information visit: W Atlanta – Midtown; W Atlanta – Downtown; W AtlantaBuckhead;

About W Hotels Worldwide
Born from the bold attitude and 24/7 culture of New York City, W Hotels, part of Marriott International, Inc., has disrupted and redefined the hospitality scene for nearly two decades. Trailblazing its way around the globe, with over 50 hotels, W is defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. With a mission to fuel guests’ lust for life, W ignites an obsessive desire to soak it in, live it up and hit repeat. The brand’s provocative design, iconic Whatever/Whenever service and buzzing Living Rooms create an experience that is often copied but never matched. Innovative, inspiring and infectious, the brand’s super-charged energy celebrates guests’ endless appetite to discover what’s new/next in each destination, to see more, feel more, go longer, stay later. For more information on W Hotels, visit whotels.com/theangle or follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. W Hotels Worldwide is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy, the new name of Marriott’s travel program replacing Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz- Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG). The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments and unparalleled benefits including earning points toward free hotel stays and nights toward Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit MarriottBonvoy.marriott.com.

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin’

May 5, 2019

by Carla Hay

Werner Herzog in “Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin”

“Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin”

Directed by Werner Herzog

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 28, 2019.

German filmmaker Werner Herzog has directed an eclectic array of documentaries, which feature his deliberate and thoughtful style of narration and on-camera interview techniques. “Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin” is probably one of Herzog’s most personal documentaries of his career because British writer/adventurer Bruce Chatwin, who died of AIDS in 1989 at the age of 48, was one of Herzog’s good friends.

Before Chatwin died, he gave Herzog a rucksack that Chatwin had carried in his travels around the world. In the documentary, Herzog brings the rucksack and retraces a lot of Chatwin’s journeys to pay tribute to and get a better understanding of his late friend. The documentary includes voiceovers from Herzog and old recordings of Chatwin. Unlike most movies, which are divided into three acts, “Nomad” has eight chapters, all of which are titled in the film.

“Chapter One: The Skin of the Brontosaurus” has Herzog going to Patagonia, Chile, which was the subject of Chatwin’s 1977 travel book “In Patagonia.” He interviews Karin Eberhard, the great-granddaughter of 19th-century explorer Hermann Eberhard, who is credited with discovering the remains of a giant sloth. In this chapter of the documentary, Herzog goes to the Patagonia city of Punta Arenas, where he visits the Lord Lonsdale Shipwreck, as well as the grave for Charles Milward, the British consul who was a cousin of Chatwin’s grandmother Isobel. Milward reportedly gave a piece of giant sloth fur (which was sometimes mistaken for brontosaurus hide) to Isobel as a wedding gift. It was Chatwin’s dream to get a piece of a brontosaurus. In this chapter, Herzog also interviews Chatwin biographer Nicholas Shakespeare.

“Chapter Two: Landscapes of the Soul” has Herzog traveling to Avebury, Wiltshire, in England, where there is a stone many people believe has mythical force and powers. Silbury Hill was Chatwin’s “pivot, his mythical place of origin,” according to Herzog, who includes footage of tourists wearing masks over their eyes for protection from these mysterious forces. There’s also footage of how the magnetic forces work with metal prongs. Herzog also travels to Llanthony Priory in Wales, the location of where Bruce courted his wife Elizabeth, who is interviewed in this chapter.

“Bruce Chatwin was searching for strangeness,” Herzog comments in the film. He also notes that Chatwin liked Herzog’s 1969 “Signs of Life” movie with the windmills scene that Chatwin called “dangerous landscape,” according to Herzog. The filmmaker also travels to Coober Pedy, Australia, where Chatwin and Herzog first met. “We were both fascinated by Aboriginal mythology,” Herzog remembers.

“Chapter Three: Songs and Songlines” explores indigenous sounds in Australia, particularly at the Strehlow Research Centre. People interviewed in this chapter include musician Glenn Morrison and Alyawerre experts Michael Liddle Pula, Marcus Wheeler and Shawn Angeles Penange. “Our songlines are our way of contributing to the health of this planet,” says one of the Alyawerre commentators.

“Chapter Four: The Nomadic Alternative” is named for an unpublished Chatwin manuscript. Herzog travels to Tierra del Feugo in Argentina, where photos of nomads fascinated Chatwin. There’s some great footage of hand imprints on overhanging rocks that were left more than 10,000 years ago, as well as some photos of nomads, such as those showing nomads with painted bodies and a naked man lying down.

“Chapter Five: Journey to the End of the World” finds Herzog in the remote La Isla Navariono in Chile.

“Chapter Six: Chatwin’s Rucksack” has Herzog back in Patagonia, where he carries the cherished rucksack and says that in his 1991 movie “Scream of Stone,” there’s a scene with someone with a rucksack, and that scene was a tribute to Chatwin.

“Chapter Seven: Cobra Verde” is a brief behind-the-scenes commentary on Herzog’s 1987 film “Cobra Verde,” which was based on “Bruce Chatwin’s 1980 novel “The Viceroy of Ouidah.”

“Chapter Eight: The Chapter Is Closed” circles back to Chatwin’s widow Elizabeth, who candidly talks about their open marriage. She says that she didn’t care that her husband Bruce was bisexual, and that he often invited his lovers into their home. Herzog also reads from the notebook containing the last line that Chatwin ever wrote.

“Nomad” is certainly going to appeal to fans of Herzog and Chatwin, as well as people who have a general interest in world travels. This is a quintessential arthouse film, so anyone who isn’t inclined to watch an artsy documentary will find a lot of this movie too slow-moving and dull for their tastes. The cinematography (by Louis Caulfield and Mike Paterson) has many stunning moments, which is to be expected in a Herzog film.

Herzog’s dry wit is present in the movie, but the wistfulness and sadness that he feels over his dear friend’s death can also be felt in the documentary. Above all, Herzog respectfully pays tribute to Chatwin in “Nomad,” and offers unique glimpses into Chatwin’s personality and intellectual curiosity in this celebration of Chatwin’s adventurous and full life.