Movie ticket sales in North America are running roughly half a billion dollars behind last summer’s box office, making this one of lowest-grossing summers in years. The 12.4 per cent downturn comes at a critical juncture for Hollywood, with constantly swirling fears about the impact of streaming, television and the bazillion other entertainment options out there.
“Called the Visionari scheme, the initiative is looking for 20 people who are “regular, irregular and importantly non-theatre attenders”. The advisory group will spend a year learning about the theatre through workshops led by the venue’s staff. After the initial year the group will begin to guide, challenge and inform programming decisions at the theatre.”
“How does the ability to come up with unusual ideas change as we grow older? Does it begin to flag in adolescence? Before then? To investigate these questions, we and our colleagues recently conducted several experiments, which we relate in a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”
A new study finds that less than a quarter of millennials have watched a film from start to finish that was made back in the 1940s or 50s and only a third have seen one from the 1960s. Thirty percent of young people also admit to never having watched a black and white film all the way through – as opposed to 85 percent of those over 50 – with 20 percent branding the films “boring.”
“AMC has come out guns blazing, even going so far as to include a solid alchemy burn in its press release trashing the company’s plan. As AMC points out, MoviePass — which buys tickets directly from the exhibitors, then redistributes them to its subscribers by way of a MoviePass-specific debit card — will lose money on every customer who sees more than one movie a month. So what’s MoviePass’s angle here? Is this a strange form of cinematic philanthropy? Or do they have a plan?”
The Majority, a new show at London’s National Theatre by the performer and playwright Rob Drummond, is inspired by a wave of recent electoral upsets, from the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 to the Brexit vote last year. Throughout the show, Drummond asks a series of timely questions to which the audience votes “yes” or “no” on in real time, with the results immediately revealed, as he demonstrates how easily the shape of a question can alter its answer.
In a much-discussed Twitter thread, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo reminds us that online news consumers, including Millennials, prefer their news in print (otherwise, why would so many sites resort to autoplay?) and explains why media company after media company is ignoring that preference (and laying off countless journalists in the process).
Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. Hemingway’s Cat in the Rain. Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie. “Fairies hid copies of these books and more in public places this past weekend as a local launch of The Book Fairies project, an international initiative in which people leave texts for others to discover in cities around the world. After readers finish a book, they are supposed to pass it on to others.”
“Like any Broadway spectacle, the excursion was a splice of authentic emotion and fabrication. It seemed equal part an earnest bid to get people off the sidelines and into a picket line and equal part showbiz hoopla aimed at bolstering a show that opened last week to mixed reviews and that has not yet caught fire with ticket buyers.”
“During springtime, the Indianapolis Museum of Art welcomed you to friendlier weather with thousands of color-drenched blooms on its outdoor campus. A beer garden and, later on, 18 holes of mini-golf designed by artists kept you coming back. Starting in mid-November, … the museum’s gardens will be illuminated by millions of lights that dance along to the music of the Nutcracker Suite. You’ll have your choice of drinks and firepits to roast s’mores. These are the type of cultural experiences Indy residents are drawn to. It’s just that when it comes to perception, market research shows people don’t necessarily connect them to the IMA.”
“We must stop handcuffing our writers and producers by forcing them to comply with some national mandate to tell Canadian stories. We are Canadian, and our stories will inherently reflect our sense of humour, our drama and our individuality. I can’t tell you how many pitches I have been to where some development executive measures the Canadian quotient word by word like a recipe for poutine.”
“The dearth of negative music reviews is due to a number of factors. In the digital era, outlets covering music have become decentralized with fewer dominant players and more outlets running reviews. That’s helped create a new power dynamic between pop stars and the press—one where stars are less dependent on critics and critics are more eager to please artists.”
The whole thing started with a film club in 2002. But then, “Cinespia has sold out each of its screenings, with thousands of attendees per its 25 screenings a season over the last several years. ‘The experience of watching a classic film with 4,000 people heightens the experience, it’s something you cannot get in front of your computer at home alone.'”
Basically, it’s the politics, stupid: “News and current affairs magazines are becoming more popular – but celebrity, gossip and fashion publications are still struggling. It’s a trend that Sarah Penny, editor of Fashion Monitor, puts down to the news agenda. ‘I think that we can all agree that the past 18 months have been pretty tumultuous within current affairs.'”
Today, libraries are serving as essential civic places. Trusted by every part of American society, they’re the only noncommercial places other than city squares where people meet across genders and ages. They provide all kinds of services and programming—just visit the glorious Madison, WI Central Library, where a first-rate makerspace is under the same LEED-certified roof as local service agencies helping people sign up for health care and food assistance.
“The biggest obstacle for the Leawood, Kan., company, which operates 1,000 cinemas and four of the nation’s top five grossing theaters, is the growing indifference from a new generation that has grown up with Netflix-style home entertainment. Millennials are eschewing the multiplex for movies and videos streamed to smartphones and other devices.”
“‘This isn’t some magic soup!’ says David Devan of the data-driven, meticulously engineered transformation of Opera Philadelphia. The once sleepy, old-school company has become one of the most progressive forces on the opera scene. Having spent more than $600,000 on market research over the past five years, the company is now poised to launch the most ambitious component of its master plan: ‘O17’ will be the first in a series of annual festivals designed to reinvent the urban opera experience. Spanning twelve days, from September 14 to 25, the festival will feature seven ‘operatic happenings’ at six venues across the city.
“Disney’s latest move points toward a potential future in which every entertainment conglomerate has its own service. Maybe these services will umbrella a number of different properties — like how a Fox streaming bundle could potentially include the network, the studio, FX, and Fox Sports 1 — but consumers might need to start making some hard decisions about which providers they’re really willing to pay for, in a way they never had to in the days of all-inclusive cable packages.”
“William Griswold, the museum’s ebullient and well-liked director and president since August, 2014, says his goal is to engage a larger and more diverse audience. And he sees no reason why the museum can’t achieve annual attendance of 1 million – a sizable increase over the average of 650,000 over the past three years, and the 707,000 visitors the museum drew in 2015-16, which included its centennial year.” Griswold tells Steven Litt how he plans to do it.
Last March, when a judge ordered the University of California–Berkeley to make 20,000 videos and podcasts accessible to people with disabilities, the university balked. The videos and audio files contained lectures by Berkeley professors that the university wanted to make available to anyone, as an act of public outreach, but disability rights groups had sued on the grounds that the materials lacked captions, were often incompatible with the screen readers that blind people use to access the Internet, and other related issues. So the judge ordered the university to make the materials accessible. Instead, Berkeley shut the program down, locking the formerly public materials behind a firewall. The university said it was just too expensive to retrofit accessibility into their public program.
“On its face, this approach to conscientious living may look like a rejection of the uninhibited greed associated with the ’80s. But the new aspirational class shares more with its predecessors than it wants to admit. As populist surges in the United States and Europe make clear, rising economic inequality has made it more critical than ever to rethink and uproot the status quo. Yet, as Cowen and Currid-Halkett both find, for all the new elite’s well-intentioned consumption and subsequent self-assurance, they have no intention whatsoever of letting go of their status.”
“The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health. These changes have affected young people in every corner of the nation and in every type of household. The trends appear among teens poor and rich; of every ethnic background; in cities, suburbs, and small towns. Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone.”
“All of this points to a process that sociologist Saskia Sassen calls “deurbanisation”. Numerically, this means haemorrhaging residents, while metaphorically it relates to the increasing hollowing out of the social and cultural vibrancy of the city. The very things that make up its fabric – the messiness, unpredictability and diversity of urban life – are stripped away. All that’s left is Costa Coffee, Pret-a-Manger and hoardings advertising buy-to-let investments, illustrated by white couples laughing and sipping champagne.”