Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo-funded mobile-first content venture came into focus Wednesday with series orders from some of Hollywood’s top creators.
Jason Blum, Antoine Fuqua, Guillermo del Toro and Sam Raimi are all developing two-to-four hour length series for WndrCo’s platform, dubbed Quibi (short for “quick bites”). Katzeberg and CEO Meg Whitman gave a taste of the slate on stage in Los Angeles at day two of the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit.
Katzenberg described Blum’s project, titled “Wolves and Villagers,” as “Fatal Attraction 2.0,” while he says Fuqua is developing a modern telling of “Dog Day Afternoon” that is currently seeking two A-list actorst to take the reigns on a powerful and timely drama.
Raimi is developing a horror anthology “50 States of Fear,” with Van Toffler’s Gunpowder & Sky, that will highlight the scariest folklore from each state in America.
Details on del Toro’s projects were not immediately clear. Katzenberg and Whitman said they were about a year out from premieres, for both content and the Quibi app.
Quibi, previously operating under the placeholder name “NewTV,” has raised $1 billion from investors including major studios, VC and tech firms, and the Katzenberg-led WndrCo holding company. Last month, Katzenberg and Whitman announced that the mobile-TV service, slated to launch in late 2019 or early 2020, would be priced at $8 monthly without ads and $5 per month with commercials.
During a panel moderated by CNBC’s Julia Boorstin, Katzenberg and Whitman admitted they face stiff competition from mobile-native platforms like the streamers and Facebook Watch.
“The place between improbable and impossible? That’s my home address,” Katzenberg said, comparing the journey ahead for Quibi to that of HBO.
HBO, Katzenberg said, made bold bets and big spends — and recruited talent and tore up broadcast standards and practices in a way that had never been done before.
Quibi is seeking a 25-35 age demographic and aims to integrate into daily customer routines.
“I’ve seen every business plan in Silicon Valley for the past 20 years, and this is one of the best,” Whitman said of the Quibi playbook.