AMC said the service, an extension of the company’s loyalty program, has accounted for about 1 million admissions, or roughly 4% of attendance at the company’s U.S. theaters. The company announced the new offering in June to fend off New York-based MoviePass, which shook up the industry by offering a movie a day for less than $10 a month.
“Older games feature pixel-based graphics that can look fuzzy on modern televisions and can be frustrating to play for even experienced gamers. Yet in 2016, Nintendo released a NES Classic Edition console and sold out all 2.3 million of them in just three months. The company made more and began selling them in June 2018.” A pair of media psychologists explain why Gen-Xers in particular remain so fond of dear old Mario and Sonic.
Responding to Lyn Gardner’s recent column arguing for “a new approach to theatre criticism, in which theatres see developing critical voices as part of audience and artist development,” Bill Marx writes that what Gardner seems to be suggesting is both vague and, well, unlikely: “Is the money invested in theater development these days dedicated to making stage audiences more ‘critical’? Are there any plans for ‘creative power sharing’ with spectators? From what I can tell, … the goal is to buff up [theaters’] business plans and marketing efforts, not to encourage the development of ‘critical’ audiences.”
The digital landscape is already fragmented, and it’s continually fragmenting further, as content creators choose to become content providers. In the process, it’s beginning to resemble cable television. Each new app or content library looks like a different channel to consider, and each one is essentially a premium cable offering that requires a separate subscription to view. Services that previously acted as content aggregators are losing outside content with the launch of each new service. Instead, they are creating their own content to maintain value in a crowded marketplace.
“Like Spotify, for a fixed monthly fee ($8.99 in the U.S.), users can browse CKBK’s collection of more than 500 cookbooks and 100,000 recipes, which [co-founder Matthew] Cockerill said was just a starting point. ‘We have a huge pipeline of content that we will add to the service as it grows,’ he said.”
August 15 is the effective date for the troubled company’s revised subscription plan, which limits customers to seeing three movies per month and excludes certain hit films. “Some fed-up users who decided to cancel their MoviePass subscriptions are receiving confusing emails that suggest the company has enrolled them in its new, modified plan without their consent.”
The ticketing operator said Get Me In! and Seatwave – two of the UK’s four largest reselling sites – will be replaced by a new fan-to-fan ticket exchange service. The decision has already been hailed as a major commitment by the industry to combat online touts, which use secondary marketplaces to resell tickets for entertainment and sports events at highly inflated prices.
The authors say that “there is cultural activity taking place in non-city centre areas that are perceived to be barren, undesirable places to live and not common destinations to engage in cultural activity.” They believe the research demonstrates that “this activity has an audience that is interested and willing to engage, and that the venues not only generate audiences within their local communities but also contribute to the movement of audiences across and into the city.”
A survey by ART31, a network of arts groups for young people facilitated by the University of Kent, found anxiety to be the biggest barrier of all among young people aged 10 and 25. Its report says: “It seems likely that this is related to joining a new group or attending a new venue, but it may also be about fear of failure.”
Theatre itself can be activism, of course, through subject matter and through subtle casting changes or donation asks at the end of the play or musical. But “public service” – part of most nonprofit theatres’ mission statements – shouldn’t end at the theatre doors.
It’s a movie about eighth grade (roughly, being 13 or 14 years old, for non-American audiences) that eighth graders can’t see on their own because it’s rated R “because of a few choice four-letter words and some squirm-inducing sex talk. On Wednesday, A24, the company behind the film, rebelled against the rating for one night, holding free all-ages screenings in every state. And teenagers came out in droves.”
Even politicians are getting involved: “Rep. Jerrold Nadler and officials from the Public Theater pleaded Friday for the FAA to divert helicopter traffic from Central Park because the noise keeps interrupting Shakespeare in the Park, which is currently staging Twelfth Night.”
“The 156-year-old museum is now five years into an ambitious program that’s been injecting life into the Western New York region’s parks, neighborhoods, buildings, and other infrastructure through paint, plastic, steel, cloth, and whatever else their international cast of commissioned artists want to work with.” In a Q&A, Albright-Knox public art curator Aaron Ott talks about the works that have gone up, their reception by the public, and the lessons he’s learned.
“In fiscal year 2016, the Mass. Cultural Council invested $4.5 million in 400 nonprofits that generated more than $1.2 billion for the state’s economy.” Matt Wilson, executive director of advocacy organization MASSCreative, lays out examples of the difference that state seed funding of arts and culture makes, especially in towns that aren’t as prosperous as Boston is.
NewTV, founded and led by former Disney exec Jeffrey Katzenberg and with former eBay and HP chief Meg Whitman as CEO, “is aiming to launch by the end of 2019, with a premium lineup of original, short-form series comprising episodes of 10 minutes each. The service will have two subscription tiers,” with and without advertising. Just about every major Hollywood studio has bought in.
“According to state statistics, more than 1 million foreign tourists and football fans visited Russia in the first two months of this summer, contributing a growth in book sales reported to be almost 50 percent higher than were seen in the same timeframe of 2017.” The increased demand from visitors was largely for the classics, with the only widely-requested 20th-century titles being The Master and Margarita and Doctor Zhivago.
At one point in its history, Oscar voters routinely named blockbusters such as “Titanic” or “Gladiator” as the year’s best. That’s changed. Recent best picture victors such as “Moonlight,” “Spotlight,” and the 2018 winner “The Shape of Water” have been firmly ensconced in the arthouse world, whereas well-reviewed hit films such as “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” have only been recognized for their technical achievements.
Creating a category that segregates popular films from more elevated fare hardly seems like an improvement or likely to keep the academy relevant, since it calls attention to the awards’ elitism rather than actually broadening their appeal. If the academy really wants to make the Oscars more appealing to a wider audience, it should consider just recognizing the artistic merit of deserving popular films instead of cordoning them off in their own category. After all, wasn’t that part of the justification for expanding the Best Picture category in 2009, that having more than five nominees would allow room for both obscure indies and more popular fare that might otherwise be squeezed out of the race?
For all of MoviePass’s ludicrousness, it has demonstrated that audiences have a real appetite for a subscription-based approach to filmgoing, and larger theater chains are catching on.
“Let’s go back to the Dickens model,” says Serial Box co-founder Molly Barton. “Let’s be Shonda Rhimes for books, and harness the power of telling a little bit of the story each week.” That’s what the company does, publishing books on the limited-TV-series model: the books come out in chapters meant to take 40 minutes to read (so you can do it on your commute); the various titles have seasons, writers’ rooms, and even showrunners; customers can purchase by the episode chapter, season, or entire span of a series.
It’s certainly not disappearing entirely (yet), but concert presenters, theaters, and opera companies have been experimenting with alternatives. Peter Dobrin looks at what organizations are trying – and what their patrons have been telling them about why they should be trying it.
The world is horrible, but horror books and horror movies give us examples of people who fight back against the horror, and sometimes win: “The banal evils of the world — children shot, neighbors exiled, selves reframed in an instant as inhuman threats — these are horrible, but they aren’t horror. Horror promises that the plot arc will fall after it rises. Horror spins everyday evil to show its fantastical face, literalizing its corroded heart into something more dramatic, something easier to imagine facing down. Horror helps us name the original sins out of which horrible things are born.”
The study’s authors found that the average arts and culture organization in the U.S. engaged with 13.4 percent of its local population, either in person or online, in 2013. At the same time, the authors noted that their metric of “total touch points” does not reveal the duration, depth or quality of engagement each person has with the organization.
“The new culture minister of Italy’s populist coalition government, Alberto Bonisoli, has [announced] that a monthly free-entry initiative at the country’s museums and monuments is coming to an end. Since July 2014, more than 480 state-run cultural sites, including Pompeii, the Uffizi and the Colosseum, have been free to visit on the first Sunday of every month. Known as Domenica al museo (Sunday at the museum), the policy was one of many culture reforms introduced by Bonisoli’s centre-left predecessor, Dario Franceschini.”
That a lot of visitors make a beeline through art museum galleries has long been a bugaboo for curators and directors—“studies of museum visitors have shown that people look at artworks very quickly, spending maybe five seconds or less per painting,” Brent Benjamin, director of the Saint Louis Art Museum told Observer. But despite this desire on the part of arts professionals, slowing visitors down in front of individual objects has not been the primary goal at most institutions of late—though they certainly want to get people in, and get them to stay.
Christine Riccio, the most popular of the bunch: “I was reading a lot of books, and I had no one to discuss them with. I was like, ‘I’ll be lucky if I ever get 500 subscribers over here.'” She now has more than 400,000. Reporter Concepción de León meets Riccio and several of her fellows at VidCon (yes, it’s sort of like ComicCon, but for videomakers).
Revenues from admissions jumped 17.7% to $896.3M during a period that saw the release of such blockbusters as Avengers: Infinity War, Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Food and beverage sales increased 19.2% to $445.8M. Of the total revenue pie, $313.2M came from international theaters as compared to $294.9M for the three months ended June 30, 2017.
“Award-winning Slung Low theatre company is known for staging epic outdoor theatre productions around the UK. Now it’s decided to cut back on the number of shows it makes and set up a ‘community college’ teaching astronomy, cooking and decorative blacksmithing. Artistic director Alan Lane said it was ‘the most useful and most interesting’ thing they could do with their subsidy.”
We are turning away from glitzy but disposable stories of fame and excess and towards more serious, thoughtful, quiet books that help us understand our place in the world. Analysts at the Bookseller parsed data from Nielsen BookScan, and saw over the past five years a dramatic rise in the sales of “long-tail” nonfiction titles, often works on politics, economics, history or medicine that attempted to synthesise or challenge received thinking on the subject.
Felix Salmon: “The easy answer is: It was selling dollars for a dime, and you can’t do that for very long until you go bust. … The company burned cash until it didn’t have any cash left to burn and fizzled out. But in the spirit of Chesterton’s fence, it’s worth looking at the thesis behind MoviePass, and to try to make a distinction between the calculated risks that just didn’t pan out, on the one hand, and the crazy ideas that were never going to work, on the other.”