EXCLUSIVE: Netflix has set up another feature film anchored by an A-list comedy star. Netflix has set Will Ferrell to star in Eurovision, a comedy he will write with Andrew Steele. The premise revolves around the wildly popular and long running international TV music competition The Eurovision Song Contest. It is a contest that began in Switzerland in 1956, when seven West European nations participated. This year 43 countries competed for the prize, won in Lisbon by Netta (Israel) performing the song Toy. ABBA (winner in 1974 for Sweden) and Céline Dion (winner in 1988 for Switzerland) are among the former contestants who launched successful worldwide careers after their wins at The Eurovision Song Contest.
Ferrell and Jessica Elbaum will produce for Gary Sanchez Productions, and Adam McKay is exec producer. Ferrell has sung in films including Step Brothers, and during his run on Saturday Night Live.
The deal gives Netflix a comedy that will mean as much or more to an offshore streaming subscriber base more familiar with the song competition and Ferrell becomes the latest feature comedy star to set a star vehicle at Netflix, at a time when star-driven comedies are struggling mightily on the big screen.
Mike Myers is returning as host Tommy Maitland to The Gong Show and is doing interviews, now admitting he’s behind the character after denying it the first season (fooling no one). Myers responded to a New York Post interviewer’s question about returning to TV by noting that “In terms of comedy there really is no Hollywood anymore for comedy movies — it’s really ‘Streamingwood,’ where the sort of brick and mortar comedy experience is replaces with the Jimmys, Fallon and Kimmel, the Comedy Central shows, all that stuff…That happened about five years ago; the business has completely changed. Comedy is a small-screen experience now.”
There are notable exceptions like Girls Trip and Sausage Party, or even Deadpool 2, a hybrid mix of superhero/R rated comedy. But Tag, which opened last weekend, is the latest to struggle against big budget box office competition, in the wake of other strugglers that include the remake Overboard, the Amy Schumer comedy I Feel Pretty, the Melissa McCarthy-starrer Life of the Party, Game Night, Snatched, The House and Rough Night before that.
Adam Sandler and his pals Chris Rock, Kevin James and Rob Schneider have found in Netflix a comedy haven free of the scrutiny of critics, weekend gross tallies and prohibitive P&A costs. Ferrell will give it a try, after his Gary Sanchez last month opened the raunchy comedy Ibiza on the streaming site. Ferrell is repped by UTA and Mosaic.