Digital platforms are creating new audiences for old TV shows – as when this 25-year-old from Houston says “I know ‘Game of Thrones’ is all the rage — and I watch it too, sometimes — but it doesn’t have me hooked like ‘Golden Girls.’ … I’m on my third round of watching the series right now.”
Lina Rodriguez takes her cues from things like a painting of a cow. “In the 1963 painting, a placid Holstein is framed against a night sky marked by wispy clouds and a full moon. The effect should be pastoral, but instead it is faintly alarming. ‘There’s this calm, blue, unnerving light,’ Rodriguez observes. ‘It captures this idea of uncertainty that I see in his paintings. You see something that is quotidian but there is a threat.'”
Does the film “violate socialist values”? Well, it’s been screened several times in the past few weeks, but wider circulation “is proving challenging in a country where gender identity remains a sensitive topic. Chinese law allows individuals to change their gender on personal identification cards, but only if they have undergone sex reassignment surgery, and this is illegal for people under 20.”
“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?”
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).
“Miyazaki has nothing left to prove. But for the other directors it’s hard not to suspect that the old retirement hokey-cokey – in, out, in, out – is at least partly driven by PR reasoning. … If that’s what’s going on, then these vacillating retirees have been forced into it by the tumultuous state of cinema. They’re taking action on a commonly voiced complaint: that the studios’ franchise addiction has sucked financing out of mid-range-budget films.”
“We must admit that for a long time your Hollywood movies have been better made than Chinese movies, so we watched them all,” said Zou Ping, a parcel delivery worker in his 20s, leaving a showing of “Wolf Warrior 2” in Beijing. “But now you must also admit that this movie was pretty good, and it has a Chinese hero. It feels good to be on the side of justice.”
Shonda Rhimes’s just-announced decision to sign with Netflix and leave ABC/Disney points to a bleak new reality for old-school broadcasters trying to hold on to big names. For some Hollywood creatives, particularly those at the peak of their careers, offers of big bucks and promises of creative autonomy aren’t enough to overcome the view that network television is now the least attractive medium in which to work. Rhimes didn’t leave just leave ABC. She left network TV.
“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 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.'”
A recent Annenberg study was pretty depressing in terms of representation for people of color, and even white women, in Hollywood. But “how do you persuade the dream factory to dream a lot bigger than the lives of white men in the United States and Britain? The Annenberg study favours industry targets and movie contracts in which top talent would demand on-set equity from the studio bosses. Maybe this shaming will have some effect. … Giving female screenwriters and non-white screenwriters more chances seems more likely to produce a wider range of stories and different approaches to storytelling.”
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.'”
Peak TV and the success of shows ranging from Empire to Transparent, added to the strong awareness of April Reign’s #OscarsSoWhite campaign, have transformed the press tour from triumphant bragging to fierce discussions and defensive moves from networks – especially the exceedingly white and male CBS – about diversity in front of and behind the camera.
Yes, that’s James Ivory of Merchant Ivory fame. “Despite 50 years of critical acclaim and Oscar recognition, plus British actors Tom Hiddleston and Damian Lewis lined up to star in his production, financiers are refusing to part with their money. ‘They look at you like you’re crazy. … There is an assumption that there is no money to be made from such an investment.'”
Matilda a sumptuous production about the young Nicholas II’s affair with a half-Polish ballerina, has sparked more protests in Russia than any other film since the fall of the USSR. Conservative Orthodox Christians, appalled at the depiction of an illicit (but well-documented) relationship involving a monarch they consider a holy martyr, have been demanding that the film be banned.
On the surface, it looks as if Disney is adopting the dual-distribution model HBO pioneered: It wants to sell retail OTT services directly to households, while continuing to sell wholesale TV programming through pay-TV operators. That “arguably reduces the consumer value of Netflix, which remains the biggest strategic challenge to linear networks in the expanded basic bundle long-term.”
“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.”
Dana Stevens: “Both Detroit and Whose Streets? move from a large-scale panoramic view of an urban community in crisis toward a more intimate portrait of a few of the individuals involved. But Whose Streets? is the more effective and emotionally powerful of the two, perhaps because it constructs its world from the ground up, not from the top down. This is another way of framing a fact that’s difficult to talk about (especially for a white critic) but important to note: The filmmaking team behind Whose Streets? is black, and the one behind Detroit is white. The question – a very live one at this moment in history – of whose story is whose to tell is raised in a stark fashion by the release of these two movies in successive weeks at a moment when the civil rights of people of color (including nonwhite immigrants) are as imperiled as they’ve been since the days of those Detroit riots.”
“In a meeting on Tuesday evening at the academy’s Beverly Hills headquarters, the group’s 54-member board of governors, including such Hollywood luminaries as Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathleen Kennedy and Steven Spielberg, elected [cinematographer John] Bailey to succeed outgoing President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who served four consecutive yearlong terms and steered the organization through one of the most transformative and sometimes turbulent periods in its long history.”
“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.”
It is a big deal to hear the CEO of a giant, publicly traded media company say he’s going to fundamentally shift his business model: “Obviously, as you move product from … a licensed-to-third-party model to a self-distributed model, you’re foregoing the licensing revenue that you get for whatever revenues you generate by [selling it yourself].”