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Dune Shows WB Learned Nothing From Zack Snyder’s DCEU

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Dune Shows WB Learned Nothing From Zack Snyder's DCEU

The handling of Dune and its necessary sequel shows Warner Bros. failed to learn its lesson from Justice League and their original DCEU plans with Zack Snyder. Despite the fallout of Snyder’s departure from the DC franchise, the studio handed another epic, bug budget sci-fi project to an auteur director without fully committing to the creative vision.

After Man of Steel, Warner Bros. announced a slate of director-driven DCEU projects surrounding Zack Snyder’s planned Justice League arc, seemingly committing to Snyder’s vision for the DC universe, but after a rocky start, the Snyderverse was abandoned, leaving the future of the DCEU in the lurch. While there was a specific plan in place for a grand culmination of Snyder’s 5-part Justice League story, including a number of spin-offs from other directors, Warner Bros. says there’s no plans to see this original plan to completion, meaning the story set up by the original slate of DCEU films will never be fully realized.


Related: The Snyder Cut Proves WB Killed Their Best Chance to Compete With Marvel

While WB gave auteur director Denis Villeneuve $165 million to adapt the first half of the epic sci-fi novel Dune, the studio decided not to approve the sequel until after they could see how the initial installment, only half the story, performed at the box office. This continues WB’s history of embarking on big director-driven projects without fully committing to the vision, an approach that is virtually guaranteed to ensure the resulting product will be less than its original conception, even if a Dune sequel still happens.

WB’s Failed Director-Driven DCEU Plan

Justice League Snyder cut snyderverse

After the success of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, Warner Bros. had Nolan develop a modern adaptation for Superman, and Nolan selected Zack Snyder as the director due to his approach with his adaptation of Watchmen. Man of Steel became the highest-grossing Superman movie, so Warner Bros. had Snyder develop a larger DCEU plan, which became Snyder’s 5-part Justice League saga. The story would center on Superman but would bring in the rest of the Justice League members, and a full slate of movies was planned, including Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps., and a solo Batman movie. Warner Bros.’original DCEU plan was to follow the model established by Nolan with The Dark Knight trilogy and Man of Steel by bringing in directors with distinct styles to head each project, including David Ayer, Patty Jenkins, Rick Famuyiwa, James Wan, and Ben Affleck.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were among 2016’s top-grossing movies, but their polarizing reviews resulted in notoriously low Rotten Tomatoes scores, resulting in Warners taking drastic action to change plans for the rest of the franchise. The changes immediately impacted Justice League the most even though it was already in production, resulting in conflict with Snyder that eventually resulted in him exiting the project following a family tragedy, allowing WB to bring in Joss Whedon to drastically reshape the project in reshoots, abandoning most of the sequel set-up and erasing as much of Snyder’s distinctive style as possible. The fallout impacted almost all the remaining movies in the slate. Aquaman was already in production, but both Famuyiwa and Affleck left their respective movies. Versions of The Flash and The Batman are coming out next year, but both are drastically different versions than originally planned (and The Batman isn’t even part of DCEU canon)

Snyder’s plan was very clearly leading to a big culmination, with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice teasing a post-apocalyptic “Knightmare” future that had been conquered by Superman who was under the control of DC ultra-baddie, Darkseid. Snyder would eventually get the chance to release his intended version of the movie, the 4-hour long Zack Snyder’s Justice League, spurring excitement for what would have been, but with no plans for Snyder to return and the current slate servicing a different plan, Warner Bros. seems content to leave this epic set-up forever unresolved.

Related: The Latest Restore The SnyderVerse Trend Proves It’s Not Going Away

The odd part is Warner Bros.’ biggest successes with DC movies have always come from the bold visions of distinct directors like Richard Donner, Tim Burton, Christopher Nolan, and even Zack Snyder, while attempts to make more broadly appealing crowd-pleasers didn’t work, like Batman & Robin, Superman Returns, and Green Lantern. As if to double down on the point, Snyder’s Watchmen, Batman v Superman, and Justice League saw significant changes for their theatrical releases, only for Snyder’s director’s cuts to be nearly universally regarded as the superior product. Despite the problems caused by their decision to abandon the original DCEU plans, Warner Bros. didn’t learn their lesson and made similar decisions with Villeneuve’s Dune.

Warner Bros. Repeated Their DCEU Mistakes With Dune

Why WB betting big on Dune Villeneuve

Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 was lauded by critics, but bombed at the box office, bringing in less than $260 million from a $150 million budget, failing to hit the typical twice-budget break-even point. Blade Runner 2049 was Villeneuve’s highest-grossing movie, despite its box office failure, but his ability to adapt stunning high-concept sci-fi convinced Warner Bros. to hand him the reins to Dune, although they didn’t opt to film it back-to-back with a sequel, or even greenlight a sequel at all, despite knowing Villeneuve was only adapting half the book in the first movie.

While WB’s caution is understandable due to Villeneuve’s box office history, the willingness to begin work on the $165 Dune part 1 without committing to part 2 upfront immediately shortchanges the franchise’s potential. Under this strategy, the absolute best-case scenario was Villeneuve produces a monster hit with an incomplete story and WB has to start the sequel from scratch and can’t capitalize on Dune‘s performance for three years. In addition to the time delay, they also miss out on the massive cost savings of shooting back-to-back, reducing the overall profitability of both movies. The worst-case scenario would be the movie flops and the whole thing looks like a massive, ill-conceived blunder on the part of WB, who would have a massive bomb on their hands after entrusting a big-budget sci-fi epic to an auteur director whose last big-budget sci-fi epic also flopped. While Villeneuve and WB escaped harsh criticism for Blade Runner 2049 due to the movie’s quality, that likely wouldn’t be the case if Dune flopped, since the movie is only half the story of the Dune book, and adapting it would likely burn a chance for another director to take a swing at the property in the near future.

Meanwhile, committing to the whole vision up-front would have been better all-around, even if WB’s concerns came true and Dune flopped.  The cost-savings of back-to-back production would at least partially offset box office losses, audiences wouldn’t be deprived of the second half of the story, and there’s always the chance the sequel could be a bigger hit, salvaging the hypothetical losses from part 1. Like with Blade Runner 2049, the quality of the film would offset a lot of the criticism over the box office losses.

Dune had a solid box office opening and seems to have fair chances of getting a sequel, but it won’t be soon enough for audiences hungry for a sequel and may see a reduced budget, ironically missing out on the cost savings that could have accompanied a back-to-back sequel production. If Warner Bros. was willing to take the risk of the first installment, why not commit to the whole vision?

Warner Bros. Needs To Follow Through On Director Driven Visions

New Warner Bros. Logo

Warner Bros. has a history of being a studio that takes big swings on grand director visions, but changes in leadership in recent years, such as the departure of former Warner Bros. Pictures Group president Jeff Robinov (who brought iconic directors like Nolan, Affleck, Snyder, the Wachowskis, and others to the studio) has seen a rise in situations like Justice League and Dune. As if to punctuate the severity of the decline, Nolan decided to make his next movie at Universal after working with Warner Bros. exclusively for nearly 20 years.

Related: Nolan’s Massive Universal Deal Could Reinvent Blockbusters Post-Pandemic

The problem isn’t that the days of bold director-driven projects are in the rearview mirror at Warner Bros., those still exist, there’s even a new Matrix movie coming out December, but there is a concerning pattern of self-sabotage of big projects brought on by a lack of trust in their directors. Situations like Justice League and Dune make the studio’s decision-making suspect and erode consumer confidence in their projects, particularly for big IP adaptations.

The whole thing is also incredibly short-sighted. It’s common for a franchise to overcome early stumbles only for those movies to be well regarded after the franchise finds its footing. The Marvel Cinematic Universe had several films in Phase 1 that were considered underwhelming at the time and Fast and Furious powered through several films with a mediocre reception to become one of the biggest franchises in film. Even films like the original Blade Runner got poor reviews and underperformed at the box office and are now considered required viewing. In the case of the DCEU, Warner Bros. was scared away from Zack Snyder’s plan because of reviews for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but that movie was so impactful in the zeitgeist that WB’s attempts to pivot away from Snyder couldn’t outpace their momentum, and they eventually had to cave to demands for the Snyder Cut when simply committing to the plan and finishing the plan they started would have seen Zack Snyder’s arc completed by now, allowing them to start fresh without having to deal with the unending reminders of the incomplete Snyderverse.

Fortunately, Dune is well received and performing well at the box office, which bodes well for sequel potential, but the lost time, momentum, and wasted money will ultimately hold back the complete vision from what it could have been if they’d produced the movies back-to-back. If WB wants to retain (or regain) its reputation for being the studio that produces this kind of movie, they need to gain some confidence and stop with the half measures and deliver on the director visions they sell to audiences.

Next: Why Warner Bros Losing Christopher Nolan Is Such A Big Deal

No Way Home Trailer Hopes Mocked By Spider-Man & Doc Ock Meme


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Adrienne Shelly’s widower confronts her killer in new film

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Adrienne Shelly's widower confronts her killer in new film

Andy Ostroy treasures the photographs he’s taken over the years of his daughter, Sophie. They capture the milestones in her life: first days at school, triumphs in soccer and even her attempts to ride a bicycle without training wheels.

In a heartbreaking scene from “Adrienne,” the documentarypremiering Wednesday on HBO — Ostroy directed about his late wife, actress Adrienne Shelly, he shows some of those pictures to the man who killed Sophie’s mother when the girl was just two.

“Adrienne missed a lot,” Ostroy tells Diego Pillco during an emotionally charged visit to the killer’s prison in upstate New York.

Dropping Sophie’s images onto a table in turn, he describes each one in detail. “This is her first birthday after her mom left her,” Ostroy notes.

The shocking death of rising star Adrienne Shelly was reported on the front page on November 3, 2006.
The shocking death of rising star Adrienne Shelly was reported on the front page of The Post on Nov. 3, 2006.

The next photo he puts in front of the inmate shows Sophie as a teenager, laughing as she eats a slice of cake. “Her most recent birthday — still no mom.”

It’s impossible to tell whether or not Pillco is moved by Ostroy’s commentary since the 34-year-old former construction worker is impassive throughout. Finally, while being led back to his cell, he mumbles the words “I’m sorry” in Spanish.

As Ostroy later admits in the movie: “My life will always be about grief. That will always be the ghost in the room. That love that I had at that time didn’t go anywhere. It froze. It’s like she is frozen in time.”

The documentary finds that Shelly’s personal life and career could not have been happier, busier or more promising when she was killed, at age 40, on Nov. 1, 2006.

The Queens-born actress, writer and director, who married Ostroy 12 years earlier, had starred in more than 20 films. They ranged from indie productions such as 1989’s “The Unbelievable Truth” to more mainstream movies like 2005’s “Factotum” with Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei.

Sadly, Shelly didn’t live to see the runaway success of her passion project, “Waitress” — the quirky drama that she wrote, directed and co-starred in alongside Keri Russell. The movie was released to critical acclaim a year after her murder and has since been adapted as a hit Broadway musical.

Shelly, who lived with Ostroy and Sophie in the West Village, did most of her writing away from the family home, in a nearby Abingdon Square apartment that she rented.

Pillco, then a 19-year-old illegal immigrant from Ecuador, was helping renovate another apartment in the building in November 2006.

Shelly with daughter Sophie, who was just a toddler when the actress was killed.
HBO

In the documentary, he tells Ostroy through a translator that he “needed money” and had been roaming the property looking for cash and other things to steal. He snuck into Shelly’s office and rifled through her purse, only to be caught red-handed by the five-foot-two-inch mom.

“The lady came out and she ran after me,” Pillco recalls on camera, sparing none of the gruesome details as Shelly’s widower listens in horror. “And when she started yelling at me, the only word that I heard her say was ‘police.’”

As Shelly went to seize her phone, he says, he grabbed her from behind, covered her mouth and told her not to call the cops.

Shelly in Abingdon Square in the West Village.
Shelly in Abingdon Square in the West Village. She was killed in the nearby apartment she used for an office.
The New York Post

“I lost it and I was choking her with my hand,” continues the killer, who pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 25 years for his crimes. “At the same time, I was covering her mouth so that she wouldn’t make noise. I took my hand off and I let her go.”

Both Ostroy and the translator look repulsed as Pillco goes on to reveal how he knew the actress was dead: “I saw that her lips were blue so I thought: ‘Oh, I killed her.’”

Pillco explains how he dragged Shelly to the bathroom and fashioned a noose from a bedsheet — then hung her from the shower curtain rail so to make it look “like she had committed suicide.”

After a long pause, Ostroy leans forward and asks: “Did you think you’d gotten away with it?”

“Yes,” Pillco replies.

But he hadn’t. Detectives first claimed that Shelly had taken her own life but that was immediately challenged by Ostroy and other family members who refused to believe it.

Shelly was born on June 24, 1996, in Queens, and raised with two brothers. Her father, Sheldon Levine, died suddenly when she was 12. A gifted singer and dancer, she began performing around the age of 10 — and later dropped out of Boston University to pursue acting in Manhattan. Shelly’s breakthrough role came in 1989 in independent filmmaker Hal Hartley’s “The Unbelievable Truth,” which led to other ingenue roles in indie movies.

Elaine Langbaum, Shelly’s mom, remembers in the documentary not being being able to accept that her daughter had committed suicide.

Shelly's passion project was writing, directing and starring in "Waitress."
Shelly’s passion project was writing, directing and starring in “Waitress.”
Fox Searchlight

“This was the time of her life,” Langbaum says, referring to Shelly’s devotion to Sophie, whom she’d given birth to at age 38. “This was it — the time she’d wanted her whole life. And she wanted to kill herself?”

But Pillco was quickly fingered for the murder. Detectives found a shoe print in Shelly’s bathtub that was identical to one discovered in the dust of the downstairs apartment being renovated — and the tread matched Pillco’s sneakers. After being arrested, and he was arrested, he confessed within hours.

Retired NYPD homicide detective Irma Rivera-Duffy, who became a friend of Shelly’s family and appears in the documentary, reveals that Pillco admitted his guilt after she told him the victim’s toddler was the same age as his own niece.

“After I got the confession, driving in my car, I got a nice cold chill in the back of my neck and the hairs stood up,” Rivera-Duffy tells Ostroy in the documentary. “I felt it was your wife thanking me for having had this guy confess so that your daughter didn’t have to go through life thinking it was a suicide.”

Ostroy, a producer and director who previously owned a marketing company for 20 years, recalls in the film how he “lost control of my body and dropped to the floor and started crying” when the lead detective told him of Pillco’s confession.

“It was everything I wanted to hear,” he says. “There was no way Adrienne killed herself. Suicide simply wasn’t possible. She was the happiest that I’d ever seen her.”

Diego Pillco admitted to killing Adrienne Shelly after she threatened to call police after catching him going through her belongings.
Diego Pillco pled guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the death of Adrienne Shelly and is now serving 25 years in prison.

The documentary opens with a home video recorded at a low-key Halloween party with friends on Oct. 31, 2006. It shows two-year-old Sophie in a princess dress and Shelly noting that the toddler’s favorite song is “Twist And Shout.”

“Every horrible day in history has a much happier day before,” Ostroy theorizes in the film. “This [Halloween] was ours. I went to bed that night the luckiest guy alive. By the next night, I was living the worst nightmare imaginable.”

Now 62, he has instant recall of both the dramatic and seemingly trivial details of Nov. 1, 2006. He was grateful that he left home later than usual for the office and got to spend a little more time with his family. Then he dropped off Shelly at Abingdon Square before driving to his own place of work.

“I just watched her walk away into the building and that was the last time I saw her,” he says in the movie.

Widowed husband XXXX and daughter XXX look through a high school yearbook with Shelly.
Widower Andy Ostroy and daughter Sophie look through Shelly’s high school yearbook.
HBO

Ostroy had a busy day at work but says there was unusual “radio silence” from his wife, whom he couldn’t reach on email, cell or landline. Their nanny hadn’t heard from her either. “It was incredibly atypical,” he recalls. “[I had] this intuition that something really awful has happened.”

A close friend drove him to Adrienne’s building in the late afternoon. When his wife didn’t answer the intercom, he went up to the apartment and found the door unlocked. “It just popped open, and that’s when the real panic set in,” Ostroy says. “It was just palpable. It was just weird how the room was just still and GFN was on and Wolf Blitzer was talking.”

As he moved through the eerie space to look for his wife, dark forces seemed to be at work. “It was like there was evil in that room,” he remembers. “Really, that’s how I felt. I felt there had been a monster in the room.”

Then he found her body in the bathroom.

Andy Ostroy and Adrienne Shelly while visiting Paris.
Ostroy and Shelly in Paris.
HBO

“I remember thinking in that moment: ‘Is this really happening?’ I was supposed to go there and find her [Adrienne] outside saying, ‘Oh Andy, I’m so sorry,’” he recalls. “I wasn’t supposed to find her dead.”

And then he had to explain to little Sophie why her mother was no longer there. “I mean what do you say to a kid who can’t handle much?” he asks. In the end, he told the toddler: “Mommy died. Her body stopped working. She’s not coming home anymore.”

Tearing up in the documentary, Ostroy recounts Sophie’s sorrowful reaction. “She walked to the window and turned to me and said: ‘Mommy died. She’s not coming back.’ And I said, ‘No, she is not coming back.’ And she just started out of the window and that was it.”

Despite saying in the documentary that his life “will always be about grief,” Ostroy has thrown himself into a non-profit organization he established after Shelly’s death. The Adrienne Shelly Foundation awards scholarships, grants and stipends to women film makers.

The widower explains in his film that the initiative has helped him cope. “I just made a decision early on that I need to accept what happened — in that ‘s–t happens, life’s not fair’ kind of way — but also try to spin some gold with it,” Ostroy says. “To turn what is probably the most horrible negative of my life to something positive.”

Ostroy describes having some “really dark moments” after his wife’s death when he would crawl into Shelly’s closet and wrap himself in her clothes just to feel closer to her. But he knew he had to keep it together for the sake of their daughter.

Shelly poses for a photo. Years later, her daughter, XXX, recreates the shot in remembrance of her mom.
Fifteen years after her mom’s death, Sophie (right) re-creates Shelly’s pose in front of Moulin Rouge.
HBO (2)

“All of the sudden, a routine set in and I just looked at [Sophie] and made her a promise that she’s going to grow up happy and healthy,” he says in the documentary. “We’re a team and we’re going to be okay.”

Nevertheless, he couldn’t help obsessing about Pillco’s criminal psyche. In 2011, Ostroy wrote to the killer, who sent him a long letter of apology in reply. The widower only decided to visit Pillco in jail after resolving to make a documentary to celebrate Shelly’s legacy.

On the morning of the trip to Pillco’s Catskills prison, Ostroy received a pep talk from Sophie. Interviewed in the film, the now 15-year-old says of her mom, “Every time I think of her, I think of [Pillco] too.” Growing up, she frequently questioned her dad about the intricacies of what had happened on Nov. 1, 2006, as they tried to come to terms with their loss.

“I want him [Pillco] to shed light on stuff and acknowledge what he did and who he took and the consequences of that,” Ostroy says on the drive to the prison. Then he manages a bit of dark humor: “It’d be funny if everything I said just goes out the window and I go into some fucking rage and I get carted out of there.”

Shelly was killed at her apartment in the West Village. After killing her, Pillco tried to make it look like a suicide. Neighbors left flowers at her door.
Shelly’s building in the West Village, where Pillco tried to make her death look like a suicide.
Robert Miller; William Farrington

That didn’t happen. After listening to Pillco’s account of the murder — prefaced by the killer’s claim that he was “never aggressive” — Ostroy looks him in the eyes.

“I want you to know that you took a wife, you took someone I was madly in love with and you took a mother,” Ostroy tells Pilco. Then he hands over another picture, this time of Sophie and Shelly together.

“That’s my daughter with her mom,” he says. “They don’t have anything any more. And they had everything.”

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Thunderbird Entertainment Group Reports on Q1 2022 Results

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Thunderbird Entertainment Group Reports on Q1 2022 Results

Q1 2022 Revenue $35.1 million, 77% year-over-year increase

Q1 2022 Adjusted EBITDA $6.3 million, 31% year-over-year increase

27 shows in production; 12 IP or Partner-Managed

Conference call and webcast scheduled for November 29 at 8 a.m. PT/ 11 a.m. ET

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, November 24, 2021–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc. (TSXV: TBRD, OTCQX: THBRF) (Thunderbird or the Company) today announced its financial results for Q1 2022, which ended September 30, 2021, and provided a corporate update.

Financial Highlights

  • Revenue was $35.1 million for the three months ended September 30, 2021, as compared to $19.8 million for the comparative period of fiscal 2021, an increase of $15.3 million (77%). The majority of this increase over the comparative period in 2021 is related to growth in production service projects and due to the delivery of the live-action series Strays for CBC.

  • Adjusted EBITDA was $6.3 million for the three months ended September 30, 2021, as compared to $4.8 million for the comparative period of fiscal 2021, an increase of $1.5 million (31%).

  • Free cash flow was $3.4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2021, as compared to $1.2 million for the comparative period of fiscal 2021, an increase of $2.2 million (183%).

“Content remains king and Thunderbird is laying the foundation to sustainably grow with the ever-increasing demand. With quality as our North Star and our focus on maintaining a culture that is diverse, inclusive and promotes excellence, Thunderbird will continue to lead in delivering premium content to our partners, further driving shareholder value,” said Jennifer Twiner McCarron, Thunderbird CEO.

Thunderbird’s Q1 2022 Corporate Highlights

  • At September 30, 2021, the Company had 27 programs in various stages of production. Twelve of these projects are Company IP or partner-managed service productions where the Company receives a percentage of certain revenue streams.

  • The Company’s productions currently air on Netflix, Peacock, Nickelodeon, Apple, Sony, PBS, Bell Media’s Discovery, Disney+, Corus Entertainment and the CBC, among others.

  • In Q1, the Kids and Family Division, Atomic Cartoons (“Atomic”) was in various stages of production on 16 animated television series/programs and two animated feature-length films, 18 productions in total. These programs reflect a blend of both partner-managed and service-based work.

  • During Q1, work produced by Atomic included: Mighty Express debuting its fourth season exclusively on Netflix; the Lego Star Wars: Terrifying Tales special streaming on Disney+; Season 4 of Trolls: TrollsTopia streaming on Peacock and Hulu; Marvel’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends — the first full-length Marvel series for preschoolers — premiering on Disney Channel and Disney Junior; and Curious George: Cape Ahoy debuting on Peacock.

  • In Q1, the Factual Division, Great Pacific Media (“GPM”), was in production on eight series and/or documentaries: Highway Thru Hell (Season 11), Heavy Rescue: 401 (Season 7), Mud Mountain Haulers (Season 2), Deadman’s Curse (working title) (Season 1), Good job (Season 1), Styled (working title) (Season 1), Dr. Savannah: Wild Rose Vet (Season 1) in conjunction with Wapanatahk Media, and The Teenager And The Lost Mayan City (working title).

  • Subsequent to Q1, GPM announced it has partnered with director, writer and producer Brad Peyton and visionary physicist Michio Kaku for its new series in development, If: Imagine the Impossible. This series is based on Underknown’s What If, which is a top ranked science program on social media.

  • In Q1, Thunderbird also announced Reginald the Vampire, its new fully-owned scripted series starring Spider-Man’s Jacob Batalon. Reginald the Vampire was picked up in a straight-to-series 10-episode order by SyFy and is being co-produced with Modern Story Company and December Films.

  • Also, in Q1, Strays, the spin-off series from Kim’s Convenience, premiered on CBC.

Results of Operations

For the three months ended

Sept 30,
2021

Sept 30,
2020

($000’s, except per share data)

$

$

Revenue

35,072

19,790

Expenses

33,186

18,321

Net income from continuing operations

1,886

1,469

Loss from discontinued operation

(80

)

Net income for the period

1,886

1,389

Foreign currency translation adjustment

6

(3

)

Loss on translation of discontinued operation

(44

)

Comprehensive income for the period

1,892

1,342

Basic income per share – continuing operations

0.039

0.031

Diluted income per share – continuing operations

0.037

0.030

Basic loss per share – discontinued operation

(0.002

)

Diluted loss per share – discontinued operation

(0.002

)

EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow

For the three months ended

Sept 30,
2021

Sept 30,
2020

($000’s)

$

$

Net income from continuing operations

1,886

1,469

Income tax expense

765

318

Deferred income tax expense

113

60

Finance costs

Interest

413

477

Dividends on preferred shares

11

18

Amortization

Property and equipment

1,011

324

Right-of-use assets

1,478

1,923

Intangible assets

68

67

3,859

3,187

EBITDA

5,745

4,656

Share-based compensation

275

119

Unrealized foreign exchange (gain) loss

3

(285

)

Severance costs

208

283

Other

70

556

117

Adjusted EBITDA

6,301

4,773

Cash (outflows) inflows from continuing operations

(936

)

1,514

Purchase of property and equipment

(1,043

)

(268

)

Net advances (repayment) of interim production financing

5,416

(18

)

Free Cash Flow

3,437

1,228

Conference Call Webcast on Monday, November 29 at 8 a.m. PT/ 11 a.m. ET

Thunderbird will hold a conference call and webcast to share the Company’s Q1 financial results on November 29, 2021 at 8 a.m. PT/ 11 a.m. ET. The conference call will be webcast live and available for replay via the “Investors” section of the Thunderbird website.

Conference Call and Webcast Access:

Toll-free dial-in number: (833) 900-1530
International dial-in number: (236) 712-2271
Conference ID: 2977972
Webcast: https://events.q4inc.com/attendee/624790123

Participants joining by phone are requested to call the conference line 10 minutes early to avoid wait times while connecting to the call. The conference call will be webcast live and available for replay via the “Investors” section of the Thunderbird website. Investors can access a replay of the teleconference at: (+1) 416-621-4642 or toll-free at (+1) 800-585-8367 three hours after the call’s completion. The Conference ID # is 2977972. The teleconference replay will be available through December 13, 2021.

For information on Thunderbird and to subscribe to the Company’s investor list for news updates, go to www.thunderbird.tv.

ABOUT THUNDERBIRD ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
Thunderbird Entertainment Group is a global award-winning, full-service multiplatform production, distribution and rights management company, headquartered in Vancouver, with additional offices in Los Angeles, Toronto, and Ottawa. Thunderbird creates award-winning scripted, unscripted, and animated programming for the world’s leading digital platforms, as well as Canadian and international broadcasters. Thunderbird’s vision is to produce high quality, socially responsible content that makes the world a better place. The Company develops, produces, and distributes animated, factual, and scripted content through its various divisions, including Thunderbird Kids and Family (Atomic Cartoons), and Thunderbird Factual and Scripted (Great Pacific Media). The Company also has a division dedicated to global distribution and consumer products. Thunderbird is on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @tbirdent. For more information, visit: www.thunderbird.tv.

On Behalf of Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc.

Jennifer Twiner McCarron
Chief Executive Officer

Neither the TSX-V nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX-V) accepts responsibility of the adequacy or accuracy of this release, which has been prepared by management.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information
This news release includes certain “forward-looking statements” under applicable Canadian securities legislation that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties, and other factors that could cause actual results, performance, prospects, and opportunities to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to the Company’s objectives, goals or future plans and the business and operations of the Company. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based on a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable, are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause actual results and future events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: general business, economic and social uncertainties; litigation, legislative, environmental and other judicial, regulatory, political and competitive developments; those additional risks set out in the Company’s Filing Statement and other public documents filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com; and other matters discussed in this news release. Although the Company believes that the assumptions and factors used in preparing the forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on these statements, which only apply as of the date of this news release, and no assurance can be given that such events will occur in the disclosed time frames or at all. Except where required by law, the Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

NON-IFRS MEASURES
In addition to the results reported in accordance with IFRS, the Company uses various non-IFRS financial measures which are not recognized under IFRS, as supplemental indicators of our operating performance and financial position. These non-IFRS financial measures are provided to enhance the user’s understanding of our historical and current financial performance and our prospects for the future. Management believes that these measures provide useful information in that they exclude amounts that are not indicative of our core operating results and ongoing operations and provide a more consistent basis for comparison between periods. The following discussion explains the Company’s use of EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, and Free Cash Flow as measures of performance.

“EBITDA” is calculated based on earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization. “Adjusted EBITDA” is calculated based on EBITDA before share-based compensation, unrealized foreign exchange gain/loss and items of an unusual or one-time nature that do not reflect our ongoing operations. EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are commonly reported and widely used by investors and lenders as an indicator of a company’s operating performance and ability to incur and service debt, and as a valuation metric. EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are not earnings measures recognized by IFRS and therefore do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS. Therefore, EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers.

“Free Cash Flow” (“FCF”) is calculated based on cash flows from operations, purchase of property and equipment and net interim production financing. FCF represents the cash a company generates after accounting for cash outflows to support operations and maintain its capital assets.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211124006270/en/

Contacts

Investor Relations:
Glen Akselrod, Bristol Capital
Phone: + 1 905.326.1888 ext 1
Email: glen@bristolir.com

Media Relations:
Julia Smith, Finch Media
Phone: +1604.803.0897
Email: julia@finchmedia.net

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LOOKING BACK IN LITCHFIELD: New theater announces opening in 1936 | Entertainment

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LOOKING BACK IN LITCHFIELD: New theater announces opening in 1936 | Entertainment

Editor’s note: Welcome to a new feature that looks at Litchfield history, from the perspective of a native of the area. Terry Shaw is a sort of unofficial recorder of Litchfield history, having researched and written two books — Terry Tales” and “Terry Tales II” — of his remembrances of growing up here. In recent years, Shaw has made daily posts on the Old Litchfield & Meeker County Facebook page. This new column will include snippets of history from both his books and Facebook posts.

  • The original owner of the land where Litchfield’s downtown now stands, George Baker Waller Sr., deeded one-half interest in 150 acres of his land to the railroad company to plat a town upon, and upon which a part of the original township was laid out in July of 1869. Waller moved his family here in November of 1869. Could we have been named Waller, Minnesota?
  • On Nov. 3, 1881, a grand opening ball was held on the main floor of the new Howard House hotel located at the north corner of West Depot and North Sibley. In November of 1978, the Bachman Construction Co. of Hutchinson bought the vacant building and lot. An auction was held of all the furniture and fixtures. What wasn’t sold, unfortunately, was thrown away, except for a few treasures my friend Pete Hughes had been given by one-time manager Vic Forte. Those treasures are on display at the Meeker County Historical Society (G.A.R. Hall). The hotel was torn down in December.
  • The G.A.R. Hall was dedicated on Nov. 14, 1885. One week after the dedication, on Nov. 21, 1885, the members deeded the Memorial Hall, as they called it, to the Village of Litchfield with the stipulation that it be kept as it was “in memory of the 300,000 soldiers who fell in defense of the Union” and be opened to the public for reading. So, the Hall naturally became the first public library in Meeker County. You can visit the hall for free (a donation is asked) and see it just like it was more than a century ago. The meeting room still contains the “kitchen chairs” each member brought from home to sit on at meetings.
  • The new Litchfield Opera House was designed by architect William T. Towner and built in late 1900. Opening night was Thursday, Nov. 8, 1900. The William Owens’ traveling troupe performed “The Marble Heart” that night.
  • In November 1925, a cross was burned on the lawn between Norwegian Reverend Martinus O. Silseth’s and lawyer Nelson Daniel March’s houses on Sibley Avenue South, only a block and a half from the railroad tracks. Litchfield had a 100 members strong chapter of the KKK back then. Not all of our news of the past is something we can be proud of.
  • Remembering that Electus Darwin Litchfield’s son was an architect, our town petitioned the government to have him design our new U.S. Post Office. Washington, D. C., gave the job to the son in November 1933, and so the son of Litchfield’s namesake designed that brick building on the northwest corner of East Second Street and North Marshall Avenue that is still used as our Post Office today.
  • Calvin Franklin “Frank” Schnee built the Hollywood Theater and opened it on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 1936. On the Grand Opening night, the movie shown was “Libeled Lady,” starring Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Spencer Tracy. Adult tickets were 35 cents and children’s tickets were a dime. It had “mirrophonic sound.” The opening night souvenir program told the patrons to leave their names with the usher or usherette if they were doctors, nurses, or professional people. Generally, these people would call the telephone office and tell the operator they were attending movies at the Hollywood Theater. Then if someone called the operator needing a doctor, the operator would call the movie theater and the usherette would be directed to get the physician and give him the message. The new building included a soundproof cry room for parents with young children. As with the Unique Theater, also run by the Schnee family, children under 12 were encouraged to sit in the first six rows. The water fountain with an electric eye was activated by bending down to it. Usherettes wore navy blue skirts with a gold trimmed red jacket and a pill box hat. The Schnees had quite a reputation for cleanliness. They did not allow popcorn in the theater until later years.
  • On a Sunday morning in November 1940, 56-year-old Walter Johnson, his wife and 18-year-old Walter Jr. were hit by the west bound Great Northern Empire Builder at the Armstrong Avenue crossing in Litchfield on their way to church. Eight-foot high snowbanks had blocked their view and Walter’s car got stuck in the deep, ice-filled ruts of the crossing’s approach. Walter’s son Bob was walking home from an earlier church service and had stopped at the Traveler’s Inn to warm up. He heard the train’s whistle blow and turned to look from the café’s doorway just in time to see his dad’s car being tossed into the air. He ran to the Sibley Avenue crossing, where the car had ended up, and saw his father dead in the car and his brother and mother laying on the gravel. Help came and Rosalind and Junior were taken to the hospital.

Bob ran back to the church and came in during the middle of the sermon. He found his other brothers, ran to their pew, and he told them the news. They all ran out of the church. Others in the church had overheard what Bob had told his brothers, and they stood and told the preacher who stopped the service. Walter’s wife survived but Junior died later that day at the hospital. Rosalind spent five months in the hospital. George, who had a house of his own, moved back home to help raise the other kids. The sons got together and decided to not let the tragedy stop the company’s growth. Abe dropped out of college and came home to pick up the slack in the company. Walter’s son Jim, who had taken over as the manager of the company, told Abe, “Dad had a plan about you goin’ to college and we’re gonna keep with Dad’s plans. You’re goin’ back to school.” Abe finished up at Harvard majoring in business. The company, of course, was the world-famous Johnson Brothers Construction Co.

  • My youngest brother, Patrick Francis “Pat” Shaw was born on Nov. 19, 1946, in the Meeker County Hospital (the old one).
  • Eighteen-year-old James Henry “Jim” Bachman, home on leave from the Army on Nov. 1, 1957, tried to beat the train at the Sibley Avenue crossing with his beautiful fender skirted ’49 Chevy at 4:35 p.m. that day. Fifteen-year-old Lyle Allen Rosenow witnessed the accident and told the police that Bachman took off south from the traffic light by the hotel and never slowed down for the tracks, even though the signal lights were flashing. Bachman had just dropped 13-year-old David Charles Lindell off at his home at 4:30 p.m. Ironically, David would be killed in a traffic accident five years later.
  • Michael Scott “Mick” Weber had his dad Clarence Peter Weber’s brand new 1960 Plymouth Valiant at school on Friday, Nov. 3, 1961. Clarence Weber had bought the car for his oldest son, Jack, to set him up in a taxi business. Mick Weber had promised to give football teammates Ralph Koelln and Kenny Fenner, Police Chief George Fenner’s son, a ride home after school at three o’clock. They had a football game that night and wanted some time at home first. Ralph and Kenny went to the school parking lot and found Clarence’s car and got in, waiting for Mick, who had given them the car keys. Mick never showed up. For some reason, he had forgotten about the arrangement and had walked uptown.
  • Along came my friend, Jerry Aloysius Wimmer. “What’s up guys?” Jerry asked. They told him and the three of them concocted a scheme where Ralph would drive Kenny home, drive himself home from Kenny’s and then turn the car over to Jerry and have him return it to the parking lot and explain it all to Mick, who would have realized his mistake by then and gone back to school. Jerry was an amazing athlete, but a terrible driver. Everything went well dropping off Ralph and Kenny, but as Jerry’s luck would have it, driving back to the school alone, he managed to stall the car right in the middle of the Holcombe Avenue railroad crossing. He put the car in park and tried over and over to get the ignition to fire. Nothing happened. Hearing an oncoming freight train, Jerry panicked, and he jumped out of the car. He tried to push the car off the tracks, first from the front of the car, and then from the rear. Unfortunately, he had forgotten that he had put the car in park and that’s why it wouldn’t budge. Jerry was very excitable. I can just imagine what he went through, struggling to push that car, his face turning redder than his bright red-orange hair. He must have finally realized that there was nothing he could do because he wisely turned and ran, just as the horn-blasting and speeding Great Northern freight train plowed into the “borrowed” car.

The train slammed the Valiant into the automatic crossing signal lights, shearing them off their standard. The car sailed another 50 yards before it came to a rest beside the tracks and up against the rest of the train that had finally come to a screeching halt. Jerry just stood there, paralyzed, staring at the car. He must have been thinking, “My life is over. I’m dead. They will put me in jail.” Before long, people ran up, asking Jerry if he was OK. He just stood there, mumbling, staring at the car, and crying. After he had completely broken down, he was taken to the doctor, who sedated him. Jerry, the football team’s star QB couldn’t play that night either and Litchfield got beat bad. Jerry was never the same after that and all of us, to this day, are a little more cautious when we drive across a railroad track crossing.

  • Litchfield Coin-Operated Dry Cleaners owners Ed Fitzloff and his wife were on their way home to Hutchinson from Litchfield when a train at the Sibley Avenue crossing killed them both in November of 1963.
  • 1936 Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actress and Litchfield born, Gale Sondergaard was performing at the Guthrie Theater in 1967 and she made a trip out to Litchfield one day in November of that year. She visited friends, stood in the bandstand for a while, and then she spoke for about an hour to the high school Thespian Club, which had been named after her. Gale did a few more movies in the ’70s, including “A Man Named Horse,” before her death in 1985.
  • On Nov. 1, 1968, a Litchfield man, who survived six months of precarious mine detection duty with the U.S. Army combat engineers without incurring a scratch, was killed instantly at 6 o’clock in the morning when his car was struck by a Great Northern freight train at the Sibley Avenue crossing. His name was Wayne Henry Heyer, and he was the 21-year-old son of Henry Harlen and Ellen W. Heyer. Wayne, a 1965 graduate of LHS, was discharged from the Army on July 2 after serving 16 months in Vietnam, the last six months on mine detection duty. The day before the accident, he had just completed his first day of work as a construction worker at Litchfield’s new Ripley Elementary School and was on his way to work again when the accident happened.
  • On Tuesday, Nov. 18, 1986, my brother Mike Shaw, Dr. C. Walton Lillehei, Howard Holtz (who was Mike’s “heart-lung machine during Mick’s world-famous operation), and my mother were reunited in Litchfield for the filming of a BBC and Boston PBS Nova documentary about the developments in surgery since the end of World War II. Mike had had the first successful open-heart surgery which had been invented by Dr Lillehei of the Heart Hospital in Minneapolis. Mick and Dr. Lillehei were filmed walking through Central Park. Then the entire group was filmed sitting around our mother’s kitchen table discussing the operation.
  • Most of us can remember the famous Halloween blizzard that happened on Nov. 3, 1991.
  • Longtime Carnegie Library head librarian Gertrude Johnson died in November 2008. Her son Jim asked me to sing at her funeral at the Ness Church. It was then that I found out that she had been baptized, confirmed, married, and then buried at that same church.
  • In November 2019, the Worden mink farm finally went out of business. Of course, the closing of the business was the result of the change in people’s attitudes towards wearing furs among other things.
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