How a Leonardo DiCaprio Film Inspired Katy Perry's 'Teenage Dream'

“Teenage Dream” remains one of Katy Perry’s most popular songs. It captures the bliss of young love in a way few songs do. It shouldn’t surprise fans that the song was inspired by the youth of Bonnie McKee, one of Perry’s regular collaborators.

Specifically, McKee was thinking about her adolescent feelings about boys. Like many other women, McKee harbored a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio. One of his most celebrated romantic films helped McKee conceive of the song.

The Shakespearean origins of Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’

“Teenage Dream” has its origins in a vulgar song by the Teenagers called “Homecoming.” Songwriter Benny Blanco encouraged McKee and Perry to write a track inspired by its vibe. While writing the song, McKee was influenced by her past.

McKee told author Alex Kazemi “I thought about my own adolescent years, my own first love. I thought about watching Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet and putting on a little mini disco ball light and just dreaming of Leo [the star of the film]. I thought about me and my friends sitting around at slumber parties in the 90’s, giddy even just THINKING about boys. Back when love and sex were still mysterious and magical.”

RELATED: How a Queen Song About a Prostitute Inspired Katy Perry’s Career

McKee drew influence from those feelings to write the song. Although the finished product doesn’t sound much like “Homecoming” by the Teenagers, the song did inspire her to use the word “teenage.” She felt the word was very descriptive.

William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is still one of the most powerful literary encapsulations of young love. It’s no surprise one of its many, many film adaptations inspired a song like “Teenage Dream.” While Romeo + Juliet inspired some of the song’s atmosphere, McKee said the track really came together when she came up with the phrase “Teenage Dream.”

The other elements that helped the song come together

RELATED: Katy Perry’s Most Popular Song Is Not What You Think

McKee told Billboard prior to coming up with the phrase, “We had some kind of filler shit that no one was feeling good about or satisfied with. Then I went off and had a good think with myself — looked at myself long and hard in the mirror and was like, “this is your Eminem 8 Mile moment — don’t f*ck it up.” And then “teenage dream” came to me. So once we had the words “teenage dream,” the rest of it really fell into its place.”

Although McKee’s contributions to the track were important, Perry did co-write the song. According to MTV, she described the song’s writing process as a “pure” moment for her because she wrote the track in Santa Barbara, California, the place where she grew up and the place where she began her journey as an artist. It seems that there was a nostalgic element in the song’s writing process for both McKee and Perry. Perhaps the track’s genuine longing for the simplicity of youth is part of the reason it connected with so many people.

Also see: How Katy Perry’s ‘Tight, Sexy’ Dress Inspired a Britney Spears Hit

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Pixar's New Short Film 'Out' Features a Gay Protagonist

The newest short film in Pixar Animation Studios’ SparkShorts series, Out, began streaming on Disney+ on Friday. The 9-minute movie centers on a gay man named Greg, who is excited to move in with his boyfriend, Manuel. There’s just one problem: Greg hasn’t come out to his parents yet. When they show up unexpectedly on his doorstep on moving day, Greg (with the help of his dog) rushes to hide who he really is at first… but then a magical twist of fate turns everything upside down.

Out is the first Pixar movie to include a main character who is explicitly gay, and whose identity is key to the story. While plenty of characters in Disney and Pixar films have been interpreted to be coded as queer, most notably Elsa in the Frozen movies, actual visible LGBTQ+ representation has been incredibly thin on the ground. Which means Out has, unsurprisingly, received praise for its inclusive storytelling.

Wait, a LGBTQ person in a Disney property, who’s a main character?! And not a background/supporting character who could be edited out or rewritten?


Please watch Out on Disney Plus. It’s the new Pixar Sparks Short and is genuinely funny, moving, and so huge. A gay man struggles to come out to his parents and it’s done beautifully. Support this ❤️🌈

Specific elements that have been singled out include its depiction of a loving, healthy relationship between two men (something which is hardly ever seen in children’s media), and in its heightened portrayal of the experience of being in the closet.

“Out,” the new Pixar SparkShort, is a fantastical glimpse into how wrong it feels keeping your true self bottled up inside. Highly recommend checking it out on Disney Plus!

Pixar’s next SparkShort, Out, has already really connected with me as this short is about a man trying to figure out how to come out to his parents that he’s gay. It always makes me happy to see LGBT getting represented in animation! The short premieres tomorrow on Disney+.

Written and directed by Steven Clay Hunter, who worked as an animator on Pixar faves such as Wall-E, The Incredibles and the Toy Story movies, Out has been described by its creator as “inspired by a true story.” Judging from the way the short seems to have spoken to so many viewers on a personal level (and ignoring the regressive a-holes who lose it at the idea of non-straight people existing), it’s not unreasonable to suggest that Hunter’s directorial debut is a hit.

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Theme Park Bits: Six Flags' New Rules, Social Distancing Reminders, and More – /Film

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Six Flags will be instituting reservations when they reopen.
  • Take a look at how Universal Studios Orlando will enforce social distancing when it opens.
  • And more!

While the Disney theme parks still don’t have an opening date – no matter what the clickbait-y headlines tell you, it’s just the shopping and dining destination at Walt Disney World that reopened this month – there are plans afoot for one of its competitors for how they’ll handle guests moving forward. At Six Flags, you can expect to do a lot of reservations in advance moving forward. The article here details some of the rules surrounding the system, and while it’s certainly going to remove a lot of the enjoyable spontaneity of traveling through a theme park, making sure you know exactly when and where you’re at a park limits the concern of contracting the coronavirus.

Speaking of reservations, you may be hoping still that Disneyland will be open on July 1. After all, you may be thinking, reservations for hotels are available then! And for now, that is true. But if you want to make a dining reservation, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Right now, dining reservations aren’t available well into July. (Both based on that article and a personal bit of research in the middle of writing this paragraph.) It’s hard to know for sure if that means a glitch hasn’t been fixed, or if July 1 is just a wishful opening date. But the latter seems awful likely, with each passing day.

Let’s hop back to Orlando, and take a quick look at what may be the new normal at Universal Studios Orlando. While the parks haven’t gotten a reopening date, there’s an understandable amount of preparation going on inside the grounds. This photo, captured by the Orlando Informer Twitter account, highlights a couple of circular signs just beyond the gates of Islands of Adventure that will promote social distancing to anyone spending time inside. Though these aren’t exactly in keeping with the park’s theming…well, there’s not much of an easy way to make the concept of social distancing in a pandemic well-themed, is there?

As a reminder, some of the Disney-owned locations within Disney Springs will be opening on May 27. And as a secondary reminder, there are plenty of new rules and guidelines being implemented at the shopping and dining destination. Yes, the mandatory rule about masks for guests has made some truly awful and selfish people angry (I know none of those people read this column, of course), but there’s even more you’ll need to think of. Temperature checks, limited parking, social distancing, and limited capacity are all the order of the day, for now. Hopefully it goes as smoothly at Disney Springs as things have gone at CityWalk.

Let’s wrap today’s column up with something that’s both Disney-related and completely separate from the coronavirus. Yes, really, there are theme park stories that are unrelated to the pandemic. This one, though, is kind of dystopian in its own way: Disney has filed a patent to identify the kinds of merchandise you’re likely to buy, based on both what you’ve bought in the past and by facial recognition. Now, granted, this is a logical endpoint from getting recommendations on a store website. Still. It’s kinda weird to think that by walking into the World of Disney, a computer would know what you’d want to buy just by looking at you.

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Apple TV+ Buys Up Older Shows and Movies to Create a Back Catalogue That Can Compete With Netflix, Disney+

When Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, it presented itself as a shiny new alternative to streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon, with a line-up of high-profile shows starring beloved A-listers. But the streaming service ended up earning little fanfare, overshadowed by the buzzy rollout of Disney+. Many wondered whether it was the middling reviews for the original titles, or more likely, the lack of a back catalogue altogether. The latter will be changing soon, as Apple has begun acquiring older movies and TV shows for Apple TV+ to build a back catalogue that could finally compete against the massive libraries of Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon, WarnerMedia’s upcoming HBO Max.

Bloomberg reports that Apple Inc. is acquiring “older movies and shows for its TV+ streaming service,” with the aim of building a back catalogue as impressive as those on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and other streaming platforms.

Apple’s video programming executives are reportedly taking pitches from Hollywood studios to license “older content” for Apple TV+, for which they have already bought some shows and movies. It’s not reported what those shows and movies are, and what defines “older” — does that mean Classic Hollywood films from the 1960s and back? Or do they refer to any title that is not an original?

It’s also not known what studios Apple will be partnering up with. Disney+ already has ownership of Disney, Pixar, 20th Century Studios, Marvel, and Lucasfilm titles, while the upcoming HBO Max draws from WarnerMedia’s extensive archives. Amazon has a deal with A24 as well, though the streaming licensing lines aren’t drawn in concrete, as a few movies from the beloved indie distributor are on Netflix. Similarly, a few Warner Bros. movies are scattered on other platforms. That leaves a lot of possibilities for Apple, though they may want to step up their game to catch up with the other services.

It seems like the acquisition of “older” titles for the Apple TV+ back catalogue is still in the early stages, but this is a big change in strategy for Apple. Until now, the company hasn’t engaged in the heated streaming battles for popular sitcoms like Friends, which went to HBO Max, or The Office, which goes to Peacock. Apple instead tried to rely on its media partners, building in subscription capabilities for services like Starz, Sowtime, and HBO on its TV app. However, Bloomberg reports that the company still plans to keep Apple TV+ focused on its original shows like The Morning Show and Defending Jacob and hasn’t yet acquired any “huge franchises or blockbusters” for its back catalogue.

Apple TV+ and Quibi are the only new streaming platforms that don’t have an extensive back catalogue, and unsurprisingly, are the services that seems to be taking the biggest hit popularity-wise. While Apple has not reported how many subscribers it earned since its launch, the lack of buzz and word-of-mouth over its new service seems to say enough. According to Bloomberg, about 10 million people had signed up for Apple TV+ by February, but only about half that number actively used the service. That’s compared to the record-setting numbers from Disney+, which has surpassed 50 million new subscribers, while Netflix added almost 16 million customers in the first quarter of 2020 alone.

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HBO Max Reveals New Premiere Dates For 'Adventure Time', 'Doom Patrol', 'Search Party', and More

HBO Max is launching soon – we’re talking this month, people. And as we inch closer to the debut, much of the new streaming service remains shrouded in mystery. Thankfully, HBO seems to have realized they better put the pedal to the metal, and have released a whole slew of premiere dates for their upcoming original programming.

HBO Max launches May 27, and the service is already looking beyond that to the months ahead. HBO just sent out a blast full of premiere dates for their summer programming, including the new Adventure Time series, the second season of Doom Patrol (a show which originated on DC Universe), the long-awaited third season of Search Party, the Seth Rogen pickle movie An American Pickle, and many more.

Over at Variety, there’s a big feature about how HBO Max owner WarnerMedia is hoping their new streaming service will stand out in a sea of new streaming services. As they put it:

The hope is that HBO Max is built up over the next few years to be a multipurpose platform for the global distribution of WarnerMedia content as well as an engine for bundling subscriptions to AT&T’s wireless and data services. The fear is that an underwhelming HBO Max would tarnish or, worse, be a financial strain on HBO proper. The pay TV pioneer generated operating income of $2.3 billion from revenue of $6.8 billion in 2019.

Variety also adds that “HBO Max will launch with roughly 10,000 hours of library content. There will be films from Warner Bros., Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection; Warner Bros. Television sitcoms; grown-up animation from Adult Swim; and, of course, the entirety of HBO.”

And while the bulk of the material will be owned by Warner Bros., there will also be titles from Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and 20th Century Studios.

Here’s what you have to look forward to this June, and onward:

Available June 18


Karma takes sixteen contestants, ranging in age from 12 to 15, completely off the grid, away from parents and the normal comforts of home, to solve puzzles and overcome physical challenges, with the laws of karma setting the rules. This adventure competition series, led by YouTube host 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.

Available June 25


Return to the Land of Ooo and beyond in Adventure Time: Distant Lands. Based on the animated series Adventure Time created by Pendleton Ward and executive produced by Adam Muto, these four breakout specials explore the unseen corners of the world with characters both familiar and brand new. The first of these specials is BMO, which follows the lovable little robot on a new adventure. 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!

Adventure Time: Distant Lands – BMO is produced by Cartoon Network Studios.


DC’s strangest group of heroes — Cliff Steele aka Robotman (Brendan Fraser), Larry Trainor aka Negative Man (Matt Bomer), Rita Farr aka Elasti-Woman (April Bowlby), Jane aka Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), and Victor Stone aka Cyborg (Joivan Wade) — are back again to save the world. That is, if they can find a way to grow up…both figuratively and literally. Following the defeat of Mr. Nobody, the members of the Doom Patrol now find themselves mini-sized and stranded on Cliff’s toy race car track. Here they begin to deal with their feelings of betrayal by Niles Caulder aka The Chief (Timothy Dalton), while confronting their own personal baggage. And as each member faces the challenge of growing beyond their own past traumatic experiences, they must come together to embrace and protect the newest member of the family: Dorothy Spinner (Abigail Shapiro), Niles’ daughter, whose powers remain a mysterious but real threat to bringing on the end of the world.

Doom Patrol is produced by Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television with Jeremy Carver, Geoff Johns, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Chris Dingess serving as executive producers. With episodes debuting simultaneously on DC UNIVERSE, the series is based on characters created for DC by Arnold Drake, Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani.


Esme and Roy are best friends — and the best monstersitters in Monsterdale! The animated series from the makers of Sesame Street will bring little viewers into a colorful world where even the littlest monsters can overcome big challenges together.

The series is produced by Sesame Workshop.


Search Party is a comedy thriller about a group of privileged, self-absorbed twenty-somethings whose search for a long-lost missing friend leads them down a dark and shocking path of no return. Seasons one and two of the series will be available on HBO Max at launch, May 27th. Season three, premiering June 25th, finds the gang swept up in the trial of the century after Dory (Alia Shawkat) and Drew (John Reynolds) are charged for the semi-accidental murder of a private investigator. As Elliott (John Early) and Portia (Meredith Hagner) grapple with whether or not to testify as witnesses, the friends are pitted against each other and thrust into the national spotlight. Dory’s sanity begins to fracture, and it becomes increasingly clear that the group may not have brunch together again for quite some time.

Search Party is executive produced by Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, Michael Showalter, and Jax Media’s Lilly Burns and Tony Hernandez.

Available July 9


From JG Quintel, creator of the Emmy Award-winning Regular Show comes Close Enough, a surreal animated comedy about a married couple, their five-year-old daughter, and their two divorced best friends/roommates all living together on the east side of Los Angeles. They’re navigating that transitional time in your 30s when life is about growing up, but not growing old. It’s about juggling work, kids, and pursuing your dreams, while avoiding time-traveling snails, stripper clowns, and murderous mannequins. Their life may not be ideal but for now, it’s close enough.

Close Enough is created by JG Quintel and produced by Cartoon Network Studios.


Expecting Amy is an unfiltered three-part documentary that shows the struggle, strength and ambition that has made Amy Schumer one of the singular comic voices of all time. It takes viewers behind-the-scenes as Schumer battles through an extraordinarily difficult pregnancy while documenting the formation of a comedy special. Schumer continues touring to prepare for the taping in Chicago that she isn’t sure she will be able to execute. It focuses on pulling the curtain completely back on her marriage to husband Chris Fischer, and the journey to his diagnosis on the autism spectrum. 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 the challenges of pregnancy, marriage and the execution of creating a stand-up special. Expecting Amy offers a hilarious and raw 360-degree look at this new stage of her life. It’s like Jerry Seinfeld’s movie “Comedian,” if he had been pregnant. With her family and friends 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.

Produced by Schumer, Expecting Amy is directed and edited by Alexander Hammer, whose previous work includes Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé.

Available July 16


Patriarch Binh Ho and his wife Hue Ho immigrated from Vietnam to the United States with little money, relying on hard work to establish the ultimate American dream. The power couple has built a multimillion-dollar bank, a real estate development company, and a new generation of American Hos. The series pulls back the curtain on their lavish Houston lifestyle and showcases the tight family connections that unite them as well as the multi-generational outrageous drama that ensues. The featured family includes patriarch Binh Ho, matriarch Hue Ho, their daughter Judy Ho, their son Washington Ho and his wife Lesley Ho, Aunt Tina, and Cousin Sammy.

Katy Wallin, Stephanie Bloch Chambers, and Nick Lee executive produce the non-fiction series with co-executive producers Amanda Ly and Rosalina Lydster. The House of Ho is produced by Wallin Chambers Entertainment in association with Lionsgate Television.

Available July 23


From creator Myke Chilian, Tig n’ Seek follows an upbeat and eccentric 8-year-old boy named Tiggy and his cat, Gweeseek. Tiggy not only works at the Department of Lost and Found, finding lost items all throughout Wee-Gee City, he lives there too! Though he tries to help his friends whenever he can, his over-eagerness and neurotic quirks often lead to chaos in the Department. Tiggy’s partner and best friend is his cat, Gweeseek. She’s a graceful, friendly kitty who appears to be a normal cat, but is also capable of inventing extraordinary gadgets to help her friends in times of need. Join Tig n’ Seek as they navigate the wacky day-to-day dilemmas of working at the Department of Lost and Found.

Tig n’ Seek is produced by Cartoon Network Studios.

Available July 30


There are nearly nine million dogs in Britain – but finding the right homes for them isn’t always easy. Set inside a rural British Dog Rescue Centre famous for its commitment to matching homeless dogs with new owners, The Dog House bears witness to the joy, comedy and pathos of the human-dog dating experience. Each episode records the arrivals of unwanted pets complete with heart-rending tales of abandonment. At the same time, they tell stories of families, couples, and singletons, all carrying their own baggage of poignant and touching backstory and hoping their lives might be transformed by the introduction of a new four-legged friend. The climax of each story is the theatre of the meet. Multiple fixed cameras mounted inside a special pen observe every beat of the first meetings between the dogs and their prospective new owners. Will the nervous dog come out of its shell? Will there be a connection? Will lives be changed forever?

Produced by Five Mile Films, The Dog House is distributed by Channel 4 in the UK.


Set in 1989, this comedy follows the journey of Sammy Cooper, a fabulously wealthy London housewife who is forced to return to her hometown in Newcastle, Australia. In coming home, Sammy must revisit her past and the events that led her to flee as a teenager years ago.

Frayed stars Creator, Writer and Producer Sarah Kendall. Clelia Mountford, Sharon Horgan, Kevin Whyte, Morwenna Gordon, Rick Kalowski and Que Minh Luu serve as executive producers. Frayed is a Merman production in association with Guesswork Television for ABC (Australia) and Sky (UK) in association with Create NSW. The series is distributed by NBCUniversal Global Distribution on behalf of Sky Studios.

Available August 6


Based on Simon Rich’s 2013 New Yorker novella, An American Pickle stars Seth Rogen as Herschel Greenbaum, a struggling laborer who immigrates to America in 1920 with dreams of building a better life for his beloved family. One day, while working at his factory job, he falls into a vat of pickles and is brined for 100 years. The brine preserves him perfectly and when he emerges in present day Brooklyn, he finds that he hasn’t aged a day. But when he seeks out his family, he is troubled to learn that his only surviving relative is his great-grandson Ben Greenbaum (also played by Rogen), a mild-mannered computer coder whom Herschel can’t even begin to understand.

Brandon Trost directs Rich’s adaptation with Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver producing for Point Grey. Rich, Point Grey’s Alex McAtee and Ted Gidlow serve as executive producers on the feature.

Available June 7


A fearless, frank and provocative series that explores the question of sexual consent in contemporary life and how, in the new landscape of dating and relationships, we make the distinction between liberation and exploitation.

Feted as the ‘voice of her generation,’ Arabella (Michaela Coel) is complex, original and highly talented. But, distracted by the pressures of her first triumph, she is struggling to write her second novel and is in danger of becoming destructive and self-absorbed. After being sexually assaulted in a nightclub, her life changes irreversibly and Arabella is forced to reassess everything: her career, her friends, even her family. As Arabella struggles to come to terms with what has happened, she begins a journey of self-discovery. Often painful, sometimes funny, it leads her to some surprising places – and controversial conclusions.

Stars Michaela Coel (“Chewing Gum”). The cast also includes Weruche Opia (“Inside No9”), Paapa Essiedu (“Kiri”), Aml Ameen (“Yardie”), Adam James (“Belgravia”), Sarah Niles (“Catastrophe”), Ann Akin (“Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams”), Harriet Webb (“Plebs”), Ellie James (“Giri/Haji”), Franc Ashman (“Peep Show”), Karan Gill (“Flesh & Blood”), Natalie Walter (“Horrible Histories”), and Samson Ajewole.

Executive producers for Various Artists Ltd, Phil Clarke and Roberto Troni; executive producer for FALKNA Productions/writer/director/star, Michaela Coel; producer, Simon Maloney; producer, Simon Meyers; director, Sam Miller; production companies, Various Artists Ltd and FALKNA Productions. I May Destroy You is a co-production between HBO and BBC Studios and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. International Television Distribution, excluding the UK and Ireland where the series will be distributed by BBC Studios.

Available June 21


1931, Los Angeles. While the rest of the country struggles from the Great Depression, this city is booming! Oil! Olympic Games! Talking Pictures! Evangelical Fervor! And a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong! Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, this new series follows the origins of American fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason (Matthew Rhys). When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason’s relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.

Matthew Rhys, Tatiana Maslany and John Lithgow star. The cast also includes Chris Chalk, Shea Whigham, Nate Corddry, Veronica Falcon, Jefferson Mays, Gayle Rankin, Lili Taylor, Juliet Rylance, Andrew Howard, Robert Patrick, and Stephen Root.

Executive producers for Team Downey, Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey, Amanda Burrell; writer/showrunner/executive producer, Ron Fitzgerald; executive producer, Joe Horacek; writer/showrunner/executive producer, Rolin Jones; director/executive producer, Tim Van Patten; co-executive producer Aida Rodgers; star/producer, Matthew Rhys.

Available June 28


This six-part documentary series based on the book of the same name explores writer Michelle McNamara’s investigation into the dark world of a violent predator she dubbed the Golden State Killer. Terrorizing California in the 1970s and ‘80s, the Golden State Killer was responsible for 50 home-invasion rapes and 12 murders. This series gives voice to the survivors and their families, documenting an era when sex crimes were often dismissed or hidden in shame. A timely inquiry into our macabre preoccupation with true crime and a cautionary tale of the dangerous lure of addiction, the series is a riveting meditation on obsession and loss, chronicling the unrelenting path of a mysterious killer and the fierce determination of one woman to bring the case to light.

The series is directed by Academy Award nominee and Emmy® winning director Liz Garbus (HBO’s “Who Killed Garrett Phillips,” “Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper”) and produced by Story Syndicate. Additional directors on the series include Elizabeth Wolff, Myles Kane and Josh Koury.

Available July 24

ROOM 104

Created by Mark and Jay Duplass (HBO’s “Animals.” and “Togetherness”), the late-night, half-hour anthology series ROOM 104 returns with 12 new episodes, telling unique and unexpected tales of the characters who pass through a single room of a typical American chain motel. While the room stays the same, every episode of the series features a different story, with the tone, plot, characters, and even the time period, changing with each installment. Providing one last glimpse into the lives of the guests in Room 104, the final season of the genre bending, and risk-taking anthology proves to be another showcase of writing, performing and directing.

Season 4 Cast includes: Mark Duplass (first time as actor in series history), Hari Nef, Logan Miller, Jillian Bell, Jon Bass, Dave Bautista, Melissa Fumero, Vivian Bang, Finn Roberts, Adam Shapiro, Breeda Wool, Kevin Nealon, Erinn Hayes, Ron Funches, Sadie Stanley, Shannon Purser, Kendra Carelli, Benjamin Papac, Alison Jaye, Tim Granaderos, Oliva Crocicchia, Harvey Guillen, Gary Cole, Linda Lavin, Jennifer Kim, Kevin McKidd, Desean Terry, Suzanne Nichols, Leonardo Nam, Lily Gladstone, Jordyn Lucas, Natasha Perez, Jake Green, Ntare Mwine, Rebecca Hazlewood, and Susan Park.

ROOM 104 was created by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass; executive producers, Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Sydney Fleischmann, Mel Eslyn and Tyler Romary; co-executive producer, Julian Wass.

Available August 2020


Based on the 2016 novel by Matt Ruff of the same name, the series follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) as he joins up with his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father (Michael Kenneth Williams). This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.

Starring Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Courtney B. Vance and Michael Kenneth Williams, Wunmi Mosaku, Aunjanue Ellis and Abbey Lee. The cast also includes Jamie Harris, Jamie Chung, Tony Goldwyn, Jordan Patrick Smith, Jamie Neumann, Erica Tazel, and Mac Brandt.

LOVECRAFT COUNTRY is executive produced by Misha Green, who also serves as showrunner, J.J. Abrams, Jordan Peele, Bill Carraro, Yann Demange (who also directed Episode 1), Daniel Sackheim (who also directed Episodes 2 and 3) and David Knoller (executive producer on Episode 1); based on the novel by Matt Ruff. Produced by afemme, Inc., Bad Robot Productions and Monkeypaw Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

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‘Hamilton’ film starring original cast to be released a year early on Disney+

You don’t have to “wait for it” — the film version of hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” is airing over a year ahead of schedule.

It will stream on Disney+ starting July 3, moved up from its original fall 2021 release date.

Disney CEO Bob Iger and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda appeared on “Good Morning America” Tuesday morning to announce the new release date.

Disney had previously planned to roll out the movie — a production by the vaunted original Broadway cast filmed over three performances in July 2016, with Miranda famously playing the title role of Alexander Hamilton — to theaters on Oct. 15, 2021.

It’s an exciting expansion of access, especially for theater buffs who wanted to see the show on a stage but couldn’t manage to snag rare and expensive tickets.

Director Tommy Kail, 42, has “basically given everyone at home the best seat in the house,” Miranda, 40, told GMA’s George Stephanopoulos from his Washington Heights home. “And it’s a thrilling experience. He really threads the needle between the cinematic closeups and widening out and seeing the show from the center aisle of the Richard Rodgers Theatre.”

The premiere has been fast-forwarded so that Americans can enjoy a musical about the fight for independence from Britain — spearheaded by Hamilton and his compatriots — right as they celebrate Independence Day in a year whose typical joys have been muted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I can’t think of another work of art in the last decade that’s had the cultural impact of ‘Hamilton,’ ” Iger, 69, said. “And in these times, to tell a story of people united together against forces of adversity I think is quite relevant and actually quite important.”

Given that Disney’s profits are tanking as the coronavirus has crippled the cruise and theme park industries, releasing a much-anticipated film early could help. The entertainment giant launched Disney+, its own streaming service, in November.

The coronavirus crisis has boosted subscriber numbers, with 50 million paying customers signing up for Disney+ in the five months since its launch.

The original cast of “Hamilton” earned fast acclaim after its 2015 debut off-Broadway at the Public Theater and later that year on the Great White Way. It includes beloved actors Phillipa Soo, who plays wife Eliza, and Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Hamilton foe Alan Burr.

“Watching it brings me right back there with that incredible once in a lifetime company,” Miranda said Tuesday, “and I just can’t wait for you to see it.”

Stephanopoulos joked, “Get the popcorn ready.”

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Theme Park Bits: New Reservation Dates for Disneyland and Walt Disney World, Disney Springs Reopening, and More – /Film

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Disneyland and Walt Disney World reservations are pushed back to July 1.
  • Disney Springs reopens on May 20.
  • A man was arrested for squatting at Disney World.
  • And more!

Whether or not you listened in on Disney’s latest earnings call – normally, who among us would, but you probably have some time on your hands – you may well want to know when exactly the Disney theme parks are reopening, no matter what part of the world you live in. Well, if you’re in mainland China, I have extremely good news for you: Shanghai Disneyland is reopening today, Monday, May 11. (And if you’re in Orlando, I have even more encouraging news: Disney Springs reopens on May 20.)

Now, of course, you should realize that “reopening” doesn’t mean “back to normal”. The Chinese government, as CEO Bob Chapek stated on the call, wants the attendance to be capped at just 30% of the peak capacity per day, but Disney’s going to be even more cautious at first. There are a number of specific restrictions and requirements, among them the mandate that all guests must wear masks or face coverings of some kind, which will be…uh…interesting to see unfold in the States. Notably, the letter sent by Walt Disney World President Josh D’Amaro regarding the Disney Springs reopening emphasizes: Cast Members and guests must wear masks. (You may have seen some stories about how Americans get so angry at having to wear a face mask that they brandish guns as a threat. So that’s a thing we’re doing now: being mad at having to protect ourselves and others.) But again: a Disney theme park is about to reopen, which is better than the current situation.

Back in the States, you might be hoping for Disneyland Resort or the parks and hotels of the Walt Disney World Resort to be open before the July 4th holiday, which seems like an extremely dicey prospect for a number of reasons. Chief among them: on the Disneyland and Walt Disney World websites now, you can’t make a reservation for hotels or dining any earlier than July 1. Now, let’s be clear about something: this doesn’t mean the parks will reopen on July 1. The earnings call on May 5 was decidedly lacking any specific opening dates for the continental parks or shopping centers. The real question, for parks die-hards, may well be this: even now, is Disneyland going to be open on July 17 to celebrate its 65th anniversary? It’s very much up in the air.

It’s a good thing there’s no park-opening anniversary in mid-July in Paris, too. Why’s that? Well, Disneyland Paris has cancelled all reservations through July 14. If you had a trip to the Parisian resort planned over the next two months, you have my sympathies and a refund from the Disneyland Paris Resort. But not much else. A detailed message from the Disneyland Paris honchos also detailed the cancellation of some special events themed to princesses and Marvel characters, and is postponing some other summer events to 2021.

And that’s not all for Disneyland Paris delays. As you may know, the new Disney Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel was slated to open on June 15. It will come as little surprise that the hotel’s opening date has been delayed with no new date announced. Considering that the Disney parks closed just three months before the original opening, the Art of Marvel hotel is likely very close to being done anyway, but with no guests at the park, there’s no good reason to open the doors.

We’re going to end today’s column with a truly aspirational case of criminality. I’m being facetious, please note, but there is a small part of that admires the daring of the guy who got arrested for trespassing on and squatting in Discovery Island at Walt Disney World a couple weeks ago. The Alabama man in question entered the abandoned island a couple days before deputies arrested him for squatting in what he dubbed a “tropical paradise”. (Fair is fair: he’s right about that.) The man has been banned from all Disney properties, so as much as the temptation may persuade you, don’t follow this guy’s example.

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Sneak Peek: 'Star Wars' Concept Art Takes Over the Disney+ Hub for the Galaxy Far, Far Away

Beginning this morning, the Star Wars hub in Disney+ will start to be taken over by beautiful concept art from the long history of the sci-fi saga that began over 40 years ago. The Disney+ homepage carousel will feature concept art from legendary artist Ralph McQuarrie, specifically the iconic piece showing the early designs for the droids C-3PO and R2-D2, marking the first time fans will be able to navigate to the Star Wars page directly from the carousel art (seen above). But that’s just the beginning.

Once on the Star Wars page on Disney+, fans will be treated to a modified version of a commemorative mural spanning the various movies and TV shows from across the entire sci-fi saga, featuring artwork by Jason Palmer and more artists. Here it is:

But you’ll want to head back to the Star Wars page once May the 4th rolls around for Star Wars Day next week. That’s when the major movies and TV shows will have their artwork updated with concept art from each of the titles. From Star Wars: A New Hope to last year’s debut of The Mandalorian, here are all the titles that will have concept art on display on Disney+:

  • Skywalker Saga
    • Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
    • Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
    • Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
    • Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
    • Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
    • Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
    • Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
    • Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)

    And here’s a sneak preview of the concept art that will be featured for some of the titles:

    Michael Paull, President of Disney Streaming Services, had this to say about the Star Wars concept art takeover on Disney+:

    “The unique brand-centric architecture of Disney+ gives us the opportunity to get creative with how we showcase and engage fans around the content. As part of the “May the 4th” celebration we partnered with the teams at Lucasfilm to honor the artistry of Star Wars and bring their vision to life on Disney+ by showcasing the incredible concept art from over four decades of the beloved saga.”

    Enjoy Star Wars Day next week, and May the 4th be with you.

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Quibi Posts Full Episodes of Three Original Movies on YouTube

After a much-hyped launch and a somewhat muted response from potential customers, Quibi has now posted three full episodes of three of its original “movies in chapters” on YouTube. It’s a classic strategy: give audiences a taste of your product for free, and hope they like it enough to pay for more. Check out the first episodes of Most Dangerous Game (starring Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz), The Stranger (starring Maika Monroe and Dane DeHaan), and Dummy (starring Anna Kendrick) below.

Free Episodes of Quibi Movies in Chapters

Most Dangerous Game, directed by Phil Abraham (Mad Men, Orange is the New Black) and written by Nick Santora (Punisher: War Zone, Prison Break), follows a terminally ill man (Hemsworth) who participates in a deadly game where he’s hunted for sport, so he can provide for his pregnant wife before he dies.

The Stranger is the brainchild of Veena Sud (The Lie, Seven Seconds, The Killing), and tracks a young rideshare driver (Monroe) who has the worst night of her life after she picks up a mysterious passenger (DeHaan) in the Hollywood Hills: he’s a murderer, and a cat and mouse game ensues that will change her forever. Avan Jogia (Zombieland: Double Tap) co-stars.

Dummy hails from creator/writer Cody Heller and follows an aspiring writer (Kendrick) who befriends her boyfriend’s sex doll and tries to take on the world with it. The movie is loosely based on Heller’s relationship with Dan Harmon, the mastermind behind the NBC series CommunityMeredith Hagner and Donal Logue co-star, and Tricia Brock (Breaking Bad, Empire) directs.

Today is the final day that audiences can sign up for Quibi’s free 90-day trial. Starting on May 1, new sign-ups will get two weeks of Quibi access for free before paying either $7.99 for the service with no ads or $4.99 with ads. The company has come under fire for limiting its service to a mobile-only platform, and though they’ve announced that the ability to casting Quibi content to a TV will be rolled out in the future, it has yet to give an exact date of when that functionality is expected to debut. In the meantime, it looks like these YouTube versions of the “movies in chapters” are the only way you can currently watch Quibi content on a device that isn’t your phone.

For a complete list of all the content Quibi released during its launch month, click here.

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The Quarantine Stream: 'Terrace House' is the Voyeuristic Escapism We Need Right Now – /Film

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Series: Terrace House

Where You Can Stream It: Netflix

The Pitch: Three men and three women from different walks of life move into a plush minimalist house together in Japan. Sometimes they date, sometimes they flirt, mostly they eat delicious-looking meals.

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: While we’ve been stuck inside our houses, a strange urge has taken over — the urge to see other people’s houses and apartments, to virtually visit the whimsically-decorated mansion of the celebrity. No? Just me? Maybe it’s the isolation, or the fact that I’m getting sick of looking at the same undecorated walls of my apartment from day to day, but my inner voyeur has started to kick in and nothing has given me greater joy than to watch other, more beautiful people, doing nothing inside their well-decorated minimalist apartments. While there’s a whole subgenre of those kind of soothing, ASMR-style videos on YouTube, one Japanese reality show on Netflix already delivers on all that and more: Terrace House.

For an unscripted reality show about three men and three women living in a beautifully designed house together, Terrace House is an unusually tranquil show. In contrast its trashier American counterpart The Real WorldTerrace House simply follow its participants as they mill about the house doing nothing at all. There are no talking heads, not aggressive cuts or edits — the camera simply sits and watches. It’s the purest form of voyeurism, and yet there’s something decidedly wholesome about it.

You can chalk it up to the innate formality of Japanese culture to the genial voyeurism of Terrace House. The housemates — many of whom have never lived with roommates before — have stilted conversations, awkward heart-to-hearts, and the occasional passive-aggressive clash. Most of the housemates join the series for a chance at romance, but the best of the series happens when they have sincere conversations about their career ambitions or personal anxieties. Lifelong friendships are formed and initial rivalries are smoothed over during an intense conversation over lunch. When things get really crazy, they even hold hands. All the action (or non-action) is observed by a panel of actors, comedians, and MCs, who overanalyze every dialogue exchange and mine them for meaning. While at first the presence of an “after show”-style panel during the episode can be jarring, it becomes essential when all the drama is as microscopic as it is on Terrace House.

For the average American reality show viewer, Terrace House sounds like it could be boring. But it’s a series that draws in your attention, that allows you to pick apart nuance and get overly invested in two hands brushing together. Despite the obvious artifice of it all, there’s a weird authenticity to it, like the people onscreen (despite the majority of them being models) aren’t just playing to the camera. But each season of Terrace House available on Netflix — of which there are three — allows you to choose your own type of reality show. Terrace House: Boys and Girls in the City is a slow-burn of food porn and roommate drama, Aloha State is an extended (somewhat trashy) vacation in sunny Hawaii. Opening New Doors is a found-family story with one of the best romances on the show. And the latest season, Tokyo 2020 in anticipation of the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics, has a sweet coming-of-age subplot and some of the most diverse and athletic members of the show.

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