Overall, the 2024 edition of the L.A. Screenings was smaller than past editions, but better in terms of content quality (albeit with reduced output), licensing opportunities, and recreational activities.

Since companies cut the number of acquisition executives travelling to Hollywood to see the U.S. studios’ offerings for the new season, studios increased the number of parties, cocktails, and luncheons to keep the attraction alive, reasoning that few buyers would miss events on the studio lots.

This year, for several reasons, reps for the U.S. studios were anxious to take over the L.A. Screenings from the independents. They started on Saturday morning at Paramount. Then it was Lionsgate’s turn (at a Westwood theater location) in the afternoon. That continued into the evening with a Lionsgate party at the Santa Monica Pier, providing just enough time for Argentina’s Telefilms to conclude the L.A. Screenings Independents event by staging its own Saturday afternoon screenings and party at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel, the venue for the L.A. Screenings Independents, located in the Century City part of Los Angeles.

Studio executives were enthusiastic about showcasing their own new series for the 2024-2025 season for broadcast, cable, and streaming TV outlets that are now back to licensing internationally. However, the reduced amount of new, licensable content from the studios, as well as the increased cost of accommodations in Los Angeles, has cut the number of acquisition companies who come to the event from Latin America, including a reduced number of LatAm buyers based in Miami, while other regions sent fewer buyers from each company.

MIP Cancun has also contributed to changing the “geography,” since some buyers from Latin America now skip the L.A. Screenings in favor of the November Mexican market, which is staged with all-expenses-paid for most of them by the organizers.

Content output quality was good all across, but the licensing rights are checkered, in the sense that they are not available right away in territories where the studios’ streaming services operate. In certain territories there was even the oxymoronic term of “co-exclusive” rights.

Lionsgate screened Hal & Harper, The Hunting Wives, Fake, and Border Line.

Paramount Global Content Distribution screened three new series, plus showed clips of 12 new titles in post-production, including Transformers One (which required 3D glasses) and clips from Republic Pictures’ (a Paramount company) six titles. In terms of full episodes, Paramount screened The Darkness; the drama Happy Face, starring Dennis Quaid and Annaleigh Ashford; and darkly comedic drama Average Joe, starring Deon Cole.

At Disney, buyers screened High Potential, Clipped, The Veil, and Under the Bridge. The Latin contingent was also shown three local productions. Acquisition executives’ regions were identified by the color of the ribbons on their badges.

In terms of U.S. networks, NBC added three new series: Brilliant Minds, St. Denis Medical, and Happy’s Place; ABC picked up High Potential, Scamanda, and Doctor Odyssey; and FOX’s new series are Rescue: Hi-Surf, DOC, Going Dutch, Universal Basic Guys, and Murder in a Small Town. From CBS there are NCIS: Origins, Matlock, Poppa’s House, and Georgie & Mandy’s First Marriage. Watson will debut on CBS mid-season.

As usual, the L.A. Screenings were divided into two parts. First the traditional independent screenings at the Century Plaza Hotel, then the studio screenings on their lots. This year a third element returned to the fairgrounds: entertainment in the form of parties and cocktails. One could even say that fun was back on the backlots.

However, it has reportedly become difficult to have a good working relationship with the management over at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel. It is widely hoped that Isabella Marquez, who organizes the independent portion of the L.A. Screenings, can find a different venue with accommodating characteristics (including lower daily rates).

Nevertheless, over 70 companies still exhibited at the Century Plaza for the indie L.A. Screenings 2024, both in its suites and at tables in the hall below the ground floor. The same number of TV sales companies were in attendance as last year, with a few newcomers, including Rabbit Films, Screenbright Media, and Seriella, in addition to returning companies that skipped the last L.A. event, such as Electric Entertainment and Latin Media.

More than 130 buyers, mostly from Latin America, registered for the indie segment.

Three of the six major U.S. studios (Disney, NBCUniversal, and Paramount) also had their suites at the Century Plaza, which remained open throughout the duration of the screenings, while those of the indies opened for business on May 14 and stayed open until May 17, before the studios even started their screenings on their lots.

The studios’ screenings began on Saturday, May 18, with the Latins at Paramount. Next was NBCUniversal on Sunday, then WBD on Monday, Sony Pictures on Tuesday, and Disney on Wednesday. Buying contingents from other territories mingled at various studios throughout the week, with the event ending on Thursday, May 23.

Missing at the Century Plaza was the Content L.A. market, which was canceled (although officials claim it’s only been rescheduled for next year) in March, after first announcing its dates as May 16-17.

The host of recreational activities that took place during the Screenings started on Thursday, May 16 with a BBC party. The evening of Saturday, May 18, saw lots of action, with a Telefilms screening and cocktail, an NBCUniversal drinks party, and a Lionsgate party. Fox Studios hosted a food fiesta on Sunday afternoon, and in the evening, Paramount had a movie premiere and cocktail party. On Monday evening, Warner Bros. and MGM threw separate drinks parties. Finally, on Tuesday, drinks and food were had on the Disney lot, while Sony served cocktails after its daytime screenings, which were scheduled to end at 5:30 p.m.

Audio Version (a DV Works service)

Please follow and like us: