Today in show business news: Amazon Studios has released a big pilot, Starz quickly renews a new show, and The Croods is a hit.
Amazon Studios, the new production hut formed by Amazon because before they only sold everything else and now they want to sell everything, has made the pilot episode of Zombieland available online. The show, based on the hit 2009 movie, looks pretty low-budget but seems clever enough. Whether it gets a full season renewal will partly depend on user reviews, so if you like it, give it some stars or whatever you do on Amazon. Lots of other shows are set to pop up on the site in the near future, though we still have no idea if this wacky experiment is going to work at all. I mean, if they keep costs low and if they, good god, redesign the interface it might have a shot. But right now the whole thing seems pretty basic. Though, that' probably the point. This is grassroots stuff, giving opportunities to lots of people. Anyway, here's the Zombieland trailer. [Entertainment Weekly]
Speaking of fledgling content providers taking chances on unknown things, Starz has renewed its new show Da Vinci's Demons for a second season after just one episode. The show, described as an "historical fantasy about the young years of world’s greatest genius, Leonardo Da Vinci," drew in 1.04 million viewers in its initial Friday broadcast and collected 1.1 million more over the rest of the weekend. Those are good numbers for Starz! Hell those are practically good numbers for NBC at this point. So Starz said "Hot damn, let's do it again!" Renewing a show for a second season after one episode is some bold HBO business, but hey it works for them, so why can't Starz give it a whirl. The network has been trying to break through with original series for a few years now, and it feels like they're almost there, though the ultimate failure of Boss, their first critically acclaimed show, was a major setback. Da Vinci probably won't win any Emmys, but it could win viewers, who are more important right now. [Deadline]
DreamWorks Animation, which had a real bumpy fall and winter after Rise of the Guardians went kablooey, has some good news this spring. Its new film The Croods, about cave people who sound like Nicolas Cage and Emma Stone, has done well enough to merit a sequel. It's earned nearly $400 million worldwide since it opened last month, a nice reversal from the Guardians crash and burn. So there is hope yet for ol' DreamWorks Animation, and we were so worried about Jeffery Katzenberg for a moment there. How was he going to manage if he was bounced out of his job? It's hard to find work these days, especially when you're his age. But luckily he, and we, won't have to worry about that just yet, it seems. Thanks, Croods! [The Hollywood Reporter]
Sofia Coppola's based-on-real-events movie The Bling Ring, about snotty Valley teens who rob celebrities' homes in Beverly Hills, will kick off the Cannes "Un Certain Regard" lineup when the festival gets started next month. So it's not competing for the Palme d'Or, but it's still a definite part of the whole Cannes machine. The last time Coppola was at the festival a bunch of French people booed at screenings of Marie Antoinette, but obviously they had a particular connection to that story. This film, on the other hand, is all about a bunch of horrid, spoiled, amoral Americans, so they ought to love it! Good thinking, Sofia. Give the Frenchies what they want. [Deadline]