The co-CEO of Candle Media Kevin Meyer, spoke about Reese’s upcoming children’s book (and possible kids brand?) Busy Betty. Candle Media owns Hello Sunshine now.
Kevin Mayer, co-CEO of Blackstone Group-backed Candle Media, discussed the company’s 360 IP-investment strategy at the MipTV conference in Cannes on Monday morning.
Mayer was appearing alongside Moonbug Entertainment co-founder René Rechtman on a panel moderated by Variety international editor Manori Ravindran. Candle Media purchased children-focused brand Moonbug last year for $3 billion.
Mayer also explained how Candle Media is focused on acquiring companies that have “synergy,” giving an example of Witherspoon partnering with Rechtman on a children’s series. “Reese Witherspoon has a fantastic idea for a new kids brand and she’s writing a book about it and she was going to make an animated series behind it,” said Mayer. (Last month Witherspoon announced she had written her first children’s book, “Busy Betty,” inspired by her own adventures as a child.)
“Moonbug specializes in kids animation and speaking to that audience and they have a huge built-in audience with which to promote new programming so of course Rene connected with Reese and one thing came to another and now Rene’s hopefully going to be – in the next many months – will be launching that new product with Reese and there’ll be a very substantial collaboration there.”
Mindy Kaling has provided some updates on Legally Blonde 3 (which she is co-writing) in recent interviews:
Kaling, who is co-writing the film’s script with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” co-creator Dan Goor, told Entertainment Tonight, “I love this project. I am so excited about it.”
“It is going, you know, a little more slowly than we like, but [it’s] just because we really want it to be good,” she added.
MORE: Mindy Kaling will co-write ‘Legally Blonde 3,’ and Elle Woods approves
The former “Office” star said of Reese Witherspoon’s film series, “I think of it like Reese’s ‘Avengers.’ Elle Woods is like her Captain America, and so you don’t want to be the person that messes up that story. So for me, we are just taking our time because we want it to be really good.”
“We don’t want to be responsible for ruining what’s basically Reese’s Avengers franchise,” Kaling says, speaking to TIME for The 100 Most Influential Companies of 2022. Witherspoon committed to a third entry in the franchise in 2018 and personally asked Kaling to write the screenplay. And while Kaling says the script is not yet complete, she did tease some of the questions she and Goor are exploring. “What is Elle Woods like at 42?” she asks. “Does she end up becoming all the things she wanted? How does that personality manifest in a grown woman? Has she become more cynical? Her brightness and her cheerfulness really worked when she was 22, but how has life changed her perspective on things?”
Dolly Parton, James Patterson, Reese Witherspoon Team on Film Adaptation of ‘Run, Rose, Run’
Dolly Parton will return to the big screen in an upcoming feature film adaption of “Run, Rose, Run.” The movie is based on a novel that Parton co-wrote with James Patterson. The pair will produce the feature film for Hello Sunshine. Its founder Reese Witherspoon will also produce the movie along with Hello Sunshine’s President of Film and Television Lauren Neustadter.
“Run, Rose, Run” was published this month and topped The New York Times bestseller list. Parton also released a chart-topping companion album of the same name through her label, Butterfly Records.
“Run, Rose, Run” follows a young woman who comes to Nashville to pursue her dreams of becoming a country music star. However, her songs hinge on a secret she has wants desperately to hide. It’s one that if revealed could threaten her future.
“Growing up in Nashville, I’ve loved Dolly since the moment I heard her magical voice and saw her luminous personality shine onstage,” Witherspoon said. “Beyond her magnetic presence as an artist and performer, she is one of the greatest songwriters and storytellers of our time. Her impact knows no bounds – as a musician, actor, writer, businesswoman, activist and all around incredible human being – Dolly Parton is not only an icon to me, but a true inspiration to women and girls everywhere. My admiration for her grew to even greater heights when reading ‘Run, Rose, Run,’ a gripping and heartbreaking book I couldn’t put down. I couldn’t feel more honored to be working alongside her and James to bring this remarkable story to the screen.”
Vanity Fair have the first look at one of the upcoming films Reese is producing – Where the Crawdads Sing. Reese talked to the publication about what drew her to the novel, and the director of the film:
Where the Crawdads Sing: Your First Look at the Lush Adaptation The bestselling Delia Owens novel is “a love letter to growing up in the South,” says producer Reese Witherspoon—which is exactly why it sang to her.
When director Olivia Newman first heard about Where the Crawdads Sing, the novel everyone seemed to be talking about, she flat-out didn’t want to read it. At the time, Newman was looking for scripts to helm after her 2018 SXSW breakout film, First Match. She was intrigued by the tale of the mysterious “Marsh Girl” from debut novelist Delia Owens—but while driving around L.A., Newman heard an interview with the author on NPR and learned that Reese Witherspoon was interested in pursuing the novel. “I remember thinking, Oh, my God, this sounds like something I would love…but I’m not even going to read it because I’ll be so heartbroken that I won’t get to make it,” Newman tells Vanity Fair.
In a few short years, Crawdads went on to sell more than 12 million copies, and Newman wound up directing the film, which will premiere in theaters on July 22.
A lyrical blend of romance, crime thriller, and survival story, Where the Crawdads Sing follows Kya, a young girl in the marsh of North Carolina who yearns for connection after being abandoned by her family. After one of the men Kya becomes romantically entangled with shows up dead, she is even further ostracized from the community, and the town’s previously concealed secrets bubble up to the surface. “I read this novel probably in one day, maybe two days. I just couldn’t put it down,” says Witherspoon, a producer on the film who also selected Crawdads for her famed book club. “I fell in love with Kya as a main character, as a little girl who’s growing up in this very rural area, who’s shunned by society, and is trying to find a way to just save herself, just survive. And the way that Delia Owens wrote this book with such authenticity, you could just tell she really grew up in this place. She really appreciated the nature around her. The book is a love letter to growing up in the South, which for me really resonated because I grew up in New Orleans and Nashville.”
Alongside Elizabeth Gabler and Sony’s 3000 Pictures, a newly launched label in partnership with HarperCollins, Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine’s Lauren Neustadter found a screenwriter in Lucy Alibar, the Oscar-nominated scribe behind Beasts of the Southern Wild. Alibar, who is from the Florida Panhandle, had been in the Hello Sunshine offices to discuss optioning another book that didn’t come to fruition. On her way out the door, she was handed a copy of Where the Crawdads Sing.
“Offhand, an executive said, ‘Oh we have this book. It’s from the South. You’re from the South. Why don’t you take a look at it?’” Alibar says. “It was one of those [conversations] that didn’t feel like anything momentous at the time.” As soon as Alibar started reading, she immediately began to picture everything from the palmettos to the house where Kya lives in the marsh. The cinematography jumped right off the page, Alibar says. “As soon as I started reading I could see everything. That happens in my favorite novels. It’s rare that I experience that with a first-time novelist.”
Reese’s Rosé! Reese Witherspoon Partners with SIMI Winery on New Wine Inspired by Her Book Club
The Editor’s Collection Rosé is available now, and “pairs beautifully with good conversation, books and many favorite book club snacks,” SIMI Winery and Reese’s Book Club said
There’s an exciting new chapter in SIMI Winery’s novel partnership with Reese’s Book Club.
The Sonoma County company announced on Monday the introduction of the Editor’s Collection Rosé, a new rosé created in collaboration with the beloved book club established by Hello Sunshine founder Reese Witherspoon.
Described in a release as “an elegant, pale pink, medium-bodied blend with light fruit flavors for a dry, Provence-style wine,” the Editor’s Collection Rosé was developed by SIMI’s female-led winemaking team and “the heroines of Reese’s Book Club” over the last year.
“Together, our teams collaborated on all aspects — from the liquid to the label design — to create an offering truly reflective of what our readers are looking for that also naturally pairs with a good book and great company,” Hello Sunshine CEO Sarah Harden said. “The Editor’s Collection Rosé exemplifies the quality and thoughtful craftsmanship behind both of our brands and will be a focus [of] many chapters to come.”
The premium adult beverage “uses the best pinot noir grapes sourced from throughout California,” the brands said, and “pairs beautifully with good conversation, books and many favorite book club snacks.”
SIMI Winery and Reese’s Book Club first made headlines with their working relationship back in November 2021, launching the Editor’s Collection — a box set retailing for $45 that featured two wines (a Sonoma County Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon) as well as a personal note from the Oscar winner.
The Editor’s Collection Rosé will retail for $18.99 a bottle, and is available nationally and on the SIMI website. A portion of profits will benefit the Readership, the Reese’s Book Club collection of efforts to support literacy.
“As a partnership rooted in celebrating narratives that place women at the center, we could not be more excited to turn this next page together,” added Mallika Monteiro, an EVP of Constellation Brands, the parent company of SIMI Winery. “We believe the launch of the Editor’s Collection Rosé really delivers on all key rosé trends: a celebrity collaboration, an American-origin product created by a world-class, female-led winemaking team and a fan-favorite Provence-style wine that over-indexes with female audiences.”
Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Acquires Lifestyle and Organizing Brand The Home Edit Hello Sunshine is planning “additional content and commerce offerings” for the home organizing brand.
Hello Sunshine, the media and entertainment company founded by Reese Witherspoon, wants to help organize your house.
The company has acquired The Home Edit, a lifestyle brand and home organization company founded by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin. Hello Sunshine plans to grow the business through “additional content and commerce offerings, and creating more ways for audiences to engage with the brand,” the company says.
The acquisition is the first for Hello Sunshine since it was acquired itself by Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Candle Media last year. The deal — terms of which were not disclosed — serves to underscore that the entertainment brands acquired by Candle remain free to pursue their own strategic opportunities.
The Home Edit was already familiar with Hello Sunshine, as Witherspoon’s company produced its Netflix series, Get Organized With The Home Edit. The company also has product lines in retail stores like Walmart, multiple books (which fit nicely in Hello Sunshine’s book club) and a full-service home organizing business in nine U.S. cities.
“After working alongside Clea and Joanna for years and watching them develop their remarkable brand and business, we are thrilled to officially welcome the incredible The Home Edit team to Hello Sunshine,” said Witherspoon in a statement. “The Home Edit has connected with audiences in so many meaningful ways through their brilliant content and product offerings. They strive to make everyone’s life easier and more joyful. I am thrilled that Hello Sunshine and Candle Media are going to enable them to expand their business to reach an even larger audience.”
Hello Sunshine was the first high-profile deal struck by Candle Media, but it has continued to make a splash in the entertainment M&A world.
The company acquired a stake in Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Inc., bought Fauda producer Faraway Road and, in its biggest deal yet, acquired Cocomelon and Blippi owner Moonbug Entertainment for $3 billion. Moonbug is also rolling up other children’s content, buying the YouTube brand Little Angel earlier this month.
It’s all part of a larger push by private equity to get a foothold in the entertainment business, seeking to ride a wave of streaming video growth and direct-to-consumer brands and turn them into steady cash flows.
In the case of Hello Sunshine and The Home Edit, a combination of new content opportunities combined with consumer products and in-home organizing services proved hard to resist.
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