The new studios will expand the company’s entertainment-content production, more effectively build on each brand’s premium storytelling and evolve the brands’ IP into new domains, including films, TV series and podcasts.
“Condé Nast has already proven itself to be a true powerhouse in the digital video space, and the secret behind that has always been our world-class creators and brands,” said CNE President Oren Katzeff. “The studios will provide a crucial strategic framework—allowing us to bring our brands’ unparalleled storytelling and reporting to new mediums, and to do so with the kind of scale that will make us a true force in the global entertainment industry.”
The studios will launch with the following projects in various stages of production:
The New Yorker Studio presents:
– “City of a Million Soldiers” (F.K.A. “MOSUL”) is a film inspired by the 2017 New Yorker article by Luke Mogelson about the Nineveh SWAT team, an elite police squad of Iraqi soldiers all fighting ISIS. After inexperienced Iraqi cop Kawa (Adam Bessa) is rescued from a harrowing firefight by the Ninevah SWAT team, he’s quickly inducted into the rogue squadron, a band of ten brothers-in-arms led by the wise Major Jasem (Suhail Dabbach). The film is written and directed by Matthew Michael Carnahan and produced by Anthony and Joe Russo, Mike Larocca and Mohammed Al-Daradji. After premiering at the Venice International Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, “City of a Million Soliders” was acquired by 101 Studios and will have a theatrical premiere on June 12, 2020.
– “Spiderhead” is based on the 2010 New Yorker article by George Saunders, a fictional story set in the near future, when convicts are offered the chance to volunteer as medical subjects in the hopes of shortening their sentences. Picked up by Netflix, director Joseph Kosinski and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are attached to the project.
Vogue Studio presents:
– “The Untitled Fashion Project” is a series of documentaries in development, to feature iconic designers, their tumultuous rise and the everlasting impact they’ve made on the fashion industry.
Vanity Fair Studio presents:
– “Gilded Rage” is a film based on the 2015 Vanity Fair article by Benjamin Wallace about the murder of Manhattan hedge fund magnate Thomas Gilbert Sr. by his son Tommy. Produced by Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker under their banner Nine Stories, “Gilded Rage” will enter production in 2020 with actors Christoph Waltz, Lily Collins and Bill Skarsgard attached.
– “The Chairmen” is a film based on the 2018 Vanity Fair article by Eric Konigsberg about the true story of rival antique dealers in Paris, where mentee Charles Hooreman blows the whistle on his mentor, Bill G. B. Pallot, when he discovers he’s manufacturing fake antique furniture. The story has been optioned and is in development.
Wired Studio presents:
– “Tell Tale Heart” is a film based on the 2019 Wired article by Lauren Smiley about Karen Navarra’s brutual murder and the unlikely role her Fibit played to solve the crime. The film is being developed with Sam Esmail’s Esmail Corp (“Mr. Robot”). Smiley will be a producer on the project.
– “King of the Jungle” is a dark comedy based on the 2012 Wired article by Joshua Davis about tech magnate John McAfee, creator of the McAfee Antivirus software, who cashed in his fortune and moved to the jungle in Belize. Produced with MadRiver Pictures, the film will head into production in 2020 with Zac Efron playing the Wired journalist.
– “The Untitled Backpage.com Project” is a scripted series based on the 2019 Wired article by Christine Biederman about Backpage.com’s vicious battle with the Feds and how its fate could shape the future of Silicon Valley. Anthony Ragnone is adapting the script and Lady Moon Entertainment’s Bryan O’Connell is attached as an executive producer.
GQ Studio presents:
– “The Untitled Great High School Imposter Project” is inspired by the 2018 GQ article by Daniel Riley about the true story of a bright Ukranian kid who peeled five years off his age so he could be adopted by a childless couple in a small Pennsylvania town, all to stay in the country after a short stint in a work exchange program. Writer Mike Makoswsky to do the adaptation. In partnership with producer Jonathan King and Participant Media, the project is in pre-production. Riley will be a producer on the project.
– “Murder Creek” is a film based on a 2019 GQ article by Zach Baron about the true story of a man who was killed in Malibu Creek State Park last summer while camping with his daughters. While the tragedy’s aftermath played out in public, a family picked up the pieces after a seemingly-random act of violence. The story has been optioned and is in development.
“Expanding video is an important part of our growth strategy as a global media company––and this particular launch represents a crucial investment to fuel that expansion,” said Condé Nast CEO Roger Lynch. “Our global network of 1,800 journalists and editors gives us unmatched access to the most compelling stories from around the world. Our studios’ ability to develop and share those stories with new audiences in new formats, and to do so quickly, gives us an incredible advantage.”
CNE’s entertainment network includes more than 65 active projects in film and TV, 175 new digital pilots and two OTT channels. Whalerock and WME advised on the framework for CNE studios and will continue to work collaboratively with the brands on the execution.
CNE produced the blockbuster “Only the Brave” and earned a Golden Globe nomination for Robert Redford’s role in “The Old Man & The Gun.” Additionally, CNE’s unscripted series “Fastest Car” and the Emmy-nominated “Last Chance U” were in Netflix’s top ten most binge-watched series of 2018. In late 2019, Bon Appétit launched its 24/7 linear channel on Samsung TV Plus with already more than 3.7 million views and more than 668K hours watched.
In addition to film and TV, CNE’s digital video offerings expanded in 2019 with 13.3 billion views across all platforms. On YouTube specifically, CNE’s 18 video brands garnered 5.2 billion views, a 66 per cent increase YoY, amassed 26.3 billion minutes watched, a 103 per cent increase YoY, and grew its audience to 43.8 million subscribers, a 66 per cent increase YoY.
Condé Nast is a member of FIPP.
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