MCN Commentary & Analysis

A Little ******* Perspective, Please

You know how you were 12 and the entire world was going to notice that zit on your nose and never see you as anything but a troll forever and ever?

That is the spirit that the authors of most of the coverage of Hollywood’s COVID-19 problem are embracing.

I mean… yes, the entire world could end and we could all end up in oxygenated cubbies with skin as pale as our genetics allow, eating highly nutritious meals out of vacuum-packed packages like toddlers. It could happen!

And every major exhibitor could be forced to declare bankruptcy… for the first time since the early 1990s… which is when the multiplex as we now know it took hold, because those exhibitors got out of leases through bankruptcies and rebuilt theaters with a lot more screens with big screens and fewer seats with better sound. How tragic!

For the record, movie theaters have gone through two further paradigm shifts, with digital projection and then enhanced seating pushing the ball uphill, not to mention the emergence of IMAX and the coming, and mostly going of 3D.

For movie journalists, the world is forever on the edge of high drama, because as the old joke goes, the stakes are so low.

And the stakes aren’t low for the people who make their living in whatever area of the industry at whatever time they are under attack. I don’t want to take the suffering that may/likely-will occur lightly. But… perspective.

Disney is the king of the theatrical jungle. Well, last year. But undisputed champs. $11.1 billion in revenue, including $4.7 billion in theatrical rentals on nearly $13 million in worldwide grosses.

So Disney has the most to lose in this COVID-19 drama, right? Probably so. Still, The Parks generated $26 billion in revenue last year. The company’s cable networks generated $16.5 billion. And ABC added another $8.3 billion.

Disney Parks have the very real possibility of losing billions, if not more than $10 billion during this. One month of revenue, even an off-month like March-into-April, is probably $2 billion.

Cable and ABC may actually increase earnings over this period, as there is no other game in town for advertisers, although obviously, the overall amounts being spent will surely be lower, especially for retailers. So maybe breakeven. Maybe a small loss.

Which brings us to the Movie division, which is facing a disruption, at minimum, of four rescheduled movies (Mulan, Black Widow, Artemis Fowl, Soul) which cost about $850 million to produce, would cost about $700 million to market worldwide, and were expected to generate more than $3 billion at the box office between them. At that low end box office estimate, the four films would break even in theatrical and generate profits in all post-theatrical revenue streams, plus ancillaries, plus having great pre-established value, eventually, on the streaming platform.

So of course, the obvious response would be, “Uh… just throw them on the app!” (Did that sound like a brain-damaged Cro-Magnon? It was meant to.)

Let’s do the simplest math. How many subscriptions would Disney+ have to sell to make up for the production cost alone, staying signed up for six months for these four titles? That would be about 18 million.

As far as I can tell, Netflix has never added more than 16 million subscribers in any two quarters… and they are selling to almost every country in the world.

Let’s move on to the “Put them on Pay-per-View” argument. Not a new one. Universal is trying it with Trolls World Tour. But do you know that no film has ever grossed as much as $50 million in PPV/VOD? Not one. And this has been a format for over a decade… and VOD has has a multiple week head-start on DVDs for years now. And yet… no.

But there are people who believe that Trolls World Tour – four years and a bunch of Netflix content since the modestly successful original film – will just casually triple that figure. And how about this comp? Angry Birds surprised a lot of people with a $108 million domestic gross. Three years later, the sequel did $42 million.

Of course, not all the VOD money comes back to the studio either. I’m just being petty.

And magic could happen. Teb million people could pay $20 million for Trolls World Tour and Universal would gross $200 million without spending nearly as much on marketing as with a theatrical release. Nothing close to that has happened in the history of films and streaming. The biggest boxing match in PPV history had five million sign-ups. Only three have ever had more than two million sign-ups. But maybe I am holding up the future with my Luddite ways.

But here, my friends and foes, is something closer to reality. Universal did the math. The cost of holding the DWA movie and doing a theatrical at a later date was probably a loser, with whatever hopes of profit being pretty iffy in either situation. So, they have a brand name—however low-end—and a moment in history, so why not take the chance? Eat shit now or eat shit later. Maybe they make magic. The two bets seem, even from the outside, pretty similar. If they lose $20 million or $50 million… well, who cares? Filmed Entertainment was a $6.5 billion segment of a $34 billion revenue company. $50 million a 1/10 of one percent of Comcast’s revenues last year.

And like Disney, Comcast has a bigger fish frying… their cable division that produces $11.5 billion a year, which is under assault from streaming. They will probably be safer for this period thanks to COVID-19. People are not anxious to change things up when they are under pressure. It is possible that this notion is flipped on its head, especially if we are still stuck in our homes in July. But for now, no one is out installing or uninstalling anything in your house real soon.

The truth is, I am looking forward to hearing the numbers on this VOD effort. The $20 price point is significant. The fantasy of “fight pricing” is completely over. The hope is that “just a little bit more than the cost of a movie ticket in a big city or two tickets in smaller cities/towns” will make people forget the are spending $20 for an iffy sequel while they are also paying $10 or $8 a month for tens of thousands of hours of family entertainment. And people with money to burn will do it. And I may buy The Invisible Man for my wife to watch without reminding her how absurd paying $20 to watch TV is. But I suspect that buyers will be on the margins. And there is no better way to find out than to test it. This is a test. And whatever the results, there will be an answer. Not playing theatrical is highly unlikely to be that answer…. like 10,000:1 against.

I don’t want to beat this to death. I suspect that I will be beating it some more very soon. But, the premise that this is some kind of opportunity for studios to hop off the theatrical window train is nonsensical. It makes sense if you believe in your heart that they all want to get rid of theatrical and were just waiting for the opportunity.

But for all the talk-talk-talk-talk-talk of studio execs and agents for, literally, decades, about saving the cost of marketing (anyone who talks about P&A like prints are a major part of that budget line for a wide release film anymore cannot be trusted) and going direct to consumer, it has never made economic sense.

The problem is not, as people will tell you, that getting people to spend a large amount of money—compared to home entertainment—to go out to movies that are no longer quite the way we remember them from the 1970s and 1980s is too hard and too expensive. But it is hard. And it is expensive. And it is unpredictable. But it is unpredictable in the positive and the negative direction.

The film industry with a theatrical window, a Home Entertainment window, and a permanent streaming window is one business. Creating content for streaming into your home is another. The financials are very different. And the consumer target is completely different. If you can’t see the difference, you shouldn’t be writing articles about it, confusing an easily confused nation of content lovers.

Individual sales of content died as a primary revenue stream about three years ago. Dead. There are still hundreds of millions of dollars in that business. Last year, there was over a billion. Sixteen years ago, $30 – $50 billion.

The Theatrical Window world and the Streaming world are not interchangeable because the math is not interchangeable. Just isn’t. No more than broadcast TV and theatrical… or streaming, for that matter. But media has a very bad habit of not thinking it out. It’s all just another two hours of entertainment to most.

I had a similar conversation about Sundance and other big fests and the streamers. If Amazon or Netflix is spending $6 million an hour for a TV series, why does anyone thing they would flinch with a $12 million bill for a two-hour indie movie? (The question of how long their model of TV episodes at $6 million a pop will last is another discussion.)

Bottom line is that hundreds of millions in produced movies being delayed is not going to close any of the major studios. Not even close. And it certainly isn’t going to make them change their theatrical model. Universal. the studio experimenting with Trolls World Tour, is also the studio that moved one movie eight months and another 13 months to find clear worldwide theatrical windows. But it’s f-ing Trolls that defines the future of theatrical? Are you nuts?

These studios are part of giant companies. None of them want to lose money. Disney is the most vulnerable because of the parks, which will lose a lot of money that will never be recovered. Mulan and Black Widow, with due respect to those who are going to make life-changing amounts of money from those films, are not only a financial blip on the Disney radar, they are troubles with a very good excuse. But Disney doesn’t want an excuse. They want MONEY. And so, they will wait.

But deadlines don’t wait. So media feels compelled to stir up hysteria. Some even believe this horseshit. But only because they refuse to open their eyes. It isn’t a huge challenge to figure out this math.

Is there a day in the future when there will be no movie theaters as we know them now? Maybe. Possibly. But most likely, only at the end of the cycle of original content that costs what is seen as—at whatever moment—a lot of money. When every movie is shot on an iPhone or some tool that is similarly inexpensive, the lines will blur. When the studio business is primarily spending, say, $50 million to release a $10 million movie, the lines might blur. But until then, Universal (and Warners) are making a freaking fortune doing theatricals of Jason Blum movies with budgets under $20 million… a fortune that doesn’t exist in VOD or streaming.

And here is the kick… after studios make money on a release, they have a post-theatrical piece of content that has much more value than a piece of new content almost ever will. To wit, would you rather have Get Out exclusively to sell your streaming service or 20 hours of Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone?

It is possible that COVID-19 is the end of the movie world. Or the theatrical world. Or whatever fantasy your local ink-stained wretch is selling.

But we are nowhere close to that being even a real discussion. Not even close.

51 Responses to “A Little ******* Perspective, Please”

  1. Stella's Boy says:

    Are there people out there arguing that Trolls 2 specifically is going to change everything? I don’t think movie theaters are going to go away because of this nor do I think the movie business is doomed. But I do think this has the potential to mark a shift that sticks. Theaters are going to be closed for a long time. And while you snidely remark that it’s 20 bucks for TV, a whole lot of people don’t see it that way or don’t mind. Many of us can’t believe what we pay to see a movie in theaters these days. Doom and gloom might be overstating things but I can see things changing after this depending on how many people pay for premium VOD. Will VOD numbers for these movies be shared? I hope so. But as others have said, this is just the beginning and some don’t realize how much our lives are going to change and for how long. So Trolls 2 itself might not be a game changer but premium VOD just might be a hit. And hey if I’m wrong and in 6 months it’s like nothing happened and we’re all at the movies again that would be fine with me.

  2. Bob Burns says:

    As you and many have said, theatrical is a resilient business. It will come back, not in months though. This will be a lost year, imo. And when it returns, it won’t all return.

    Theatrical, while not nothing, is not that big a part of our entertainment spending, and experience, anyway. Theatrical used to be big, because everything else was little. Now everything else is huge. But is anybody planning a trip to Orlando or Vegas this year?

  3. Bob Burns says:

    btw, the winner will be interactive, IMO. I will be interested to see if interactive finds significant numbers of new customers. It’s already bigger than all theatrical, domestic and international.

  4. Hcat says:

    ‘another conversation for another day”

    Soon enough these might be the best possible days to discuss all the odd things you find. There’s not going to be a whole lot of news coming out from now on.

    Thanks for the post, makes me feel less crazy. Sure an increased number of people will pay for content during a quarantined crisis. But most of the articles I read seem to think this is sustainable. That people will get used to it. But this is not a choice between renting and theatrical since there will not be theatrical, just as there is no sports, outdoor activities etc etc. If Trolls is the only new experience you can give your kids that day you will give them that experience. But once we can go on playdates, trampoline parks, basketball courts again the idea of spending 20 bucks to rent a movie for your kid will seem a little indulgent.

    I would be curious to see what would happen with Antlers or some other small adult focused release in this time. Certainly they are not going to report these numbers are they?

  5. Stella's Boy says:

    I also am skeptical that these numbers will be reported but I’d sure love to know them. And I don’t know considering what it costs to take a family to the movies it’s hard for me to imagine twenty bucks seeming indulgent. I can see the opposite happening.

  6. Hcat says:

    It might be my skeptical grumpy cheapness talking. But putting it on television just makes it more television which has SOOOO many alternatives already paid for. Plus going to the theater is the treat itself (for those of us who can stand it), its doing something, ordering a movie is just watching more television.

    And I think a lot of my reluctance to believe this will be a change has to do with Trolls, I mean honestly, Trolls? Are adults going to willingly sit through that? or just put it on for appeasement.

  7. Stella's Boy says:

    Going to the theater isn’t that much of a treat anymore especially when it costs a family of four north of $70 for tickets and food. I don’t look at it as just watching more television and I doubt many other families do either. I sat through the first Trolls with my kids and will sit through this one, too. Happy kids right now = happy life.

  8. Stella's Boy says:

    This might be a case too where it’s not really the movie itself that matters. It’s just a case of the timing. Could be any studio kids movie.

  9. Bradley Laing says:

    —Was my March 2 comment the first thing on “Movie City” new about closing theaters because of disease out breaks?

  10. Bradley Laing says:

    “NEW YORK (AP) — Faced with a lengthy shutdown due the coronavirus pandemic, movie theaters are requesting relief from the U.S. government.

    The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO), the trade group that represents most of the industry’s cinemas, said Wednesday that it’s asking for immediate federal help for its chains and its 150,000 employees. The theaters are requesting loan guarantees for exhibitors, tax benefits for employees and funds to compensate for lost ticket sales and concessions.”

  11. Stella's Boy says:

    Onward on Disney+ April 3. Wow. Crazy times.

  12. Amblinman says:

    This is a pre-covid column. They’re gonna have to throw it on the app, Dave. (insert imaginary grunt here). Unless there’s either a vaccine or effective treatment no one is gathering shoulder to shoulder in large rooms to watch movies.

    So unless the argument is that Disney is just gonna watch billions walk out the door on their theme parks and movies without trying to pull some of that back in… Okay?

  13. leahnz says:

    “are you not entertained?!”

    (trying to keep it movie-related…)

  14. Amblinman says:

    According to the Wrap WB is in very prelim talks to release WW84 VOD. It’s far from happening and who knows but the reasoning as reported:

    – No good release window due to the virus, and no good one after due to the glut.

    There are two convos here: should/will studios move films to VOD during this pandemic and will it change consumption habits.

    Yes, and yup.

  15. Bob Burns says:

    the studios could fold and it would not matter that much. Is the world worse because Columbia disappeared? The studios are just a bunch of stockholders and their minions, as you point out about the theater chains.

    But as you point out, the studios are just part of larger corporations, now….. corporations that will smear this year’s theatrical losses over the proceeds of the next five years…. which means that the break even for every project for the next few years has gone up… 5%, 10%, 20%…?

    And how much upside will the project need, to balance against the possibility of the next calamity? Film projects will be asked to carry higher insurance costs, now that we know our politicians can’t be trusted to fund the agencies that protect us and our economies.

  16. Stella's Boy says:

    Well I rented The Hunt. And I’m glad I did even though the movie is so-so. Don’t feel like I missed out by not seeing it in theaters. It’s a bummer how blandly inoffensive it is. The opening is good, Betty Gilpin is fantastic, and there are a few solid laughs. But it is so broad and strains for both sides BS and it ends up saying nothing. Which is quite a feat for a movie about liberal elites hunting Trump lovers for sport. Gilpin kept me engaged but it’s weak sauce. Hard to believe there was so much fuss about it (or maybe not actually).

  17. Amblinman says:

    Believe the hype on Invisible Man. So good. There’s a few leaps you have to let go off but whatever. Im hoping the end is implying another movie. And I never hope for that these days.

  18. Stella's Boy says:

    The Invisible Man is outstanding. Loved it. Worth renting for sure.

  19. movieman says:

    Don’t miss “True History of the Kelly Gang” when it begins streaming next month via IFC.
    Fantastic movie: it’s Justin Kurzel’s most impressive work to date, as well as the finest cinematic rendering of the Ned Kelly legend.
    Also confirms that George MacKay–on the heels of “1917” and “Ophelia”–is on the cusp of becoming one of the leading actors of his generation.
    Wonderful support from Essie Davis, Charlie Hunnam, Russell Crowe and (I s**t you not), Nicholas Hoult among others.
    “Kelly Gang” is so visually stunning that it deserves to be seen on big screens, but see it any way you can.
    It’s my favorite western since “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”–which it has a lot in common with, btw.

  20. Stella's Boy says:

    Any Western half as good as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is worth watching. I’d forgotten about this one. Had been on but slipped off my radar. Still want to see Swallow, too.

  21. movieman says:

    “Kelly Gang” is sensational, SB.
    I was blown away by its go-for-broke creativity/imagination/visual dynamism.
    I’ve liked Kurzel’s previous films (I didn’t even hate “Assassin’s Creed”), but this elevates him to a new, exalted league in my book.
    Calling it the best Ned Kelly movie to date was probably damning it with faint praise since neither the Mick Jagger or Heath Ledger Kelly’s were very good.

    “Swallow” is definitely worth checking out, as is “Blow the Man Down” on Amazon.
    I liked “Blow” better than Netflix’s “Lost Girls,” another good femme-directed movie in which dead prostitutes figure prominently in the plot.
    Also worthwhile: HBO’s “After Truth” doc and IFC’s “The Other Lamb” which is a terrifically assured, uber-creepy mix of Robert Eggers and Terrence Malick. It begins streaming on April 3rd.

  22. Sideshow Bill says:

    Rented The Hunt also and maybe it was low expectations but enjoyed it more than I expected. I didn’t quite know where it was going and that was enough to distract. Stella is right that it has no value politically, and doesn’t get as absurd as it needed to be. But good kills and Gilpin and Swank are good.

    Finally saw Color Out Of Space and loved it. In time it might be the best Lovecraft film I’ve ever seen. It captures his world. Cage wasn’t nearly as good as he was in Mandy but it’s a quality film.

    Jay & Silent Bob reboot….ugh. I wanted to like it so bad but it was way too far up it’s own ass. Got a few laughs but otherwise blah

    Hang in there folks. Hang on to hope. Don’t be like Thomas Jane at the end of The Mist!!!

  23. Stella's Boy says:

    I definitely appreciated the performances Bill, especially Gilpin’s. She is excellent. And exploding people will always be my jam. So I did find some enjoyment in it. But it’s so pointless. They didn’t even need to bother with making it about liberal elites hunting deplorables. Hard Target and Surviving the Game are more politically and culturally relevant. Find that a bit bizarre.

    Color Out of Space has a painfully slow first hour and is way too long. You could cut 30 minutes from it and lose nothing. But I did enjoy the home stretch. Some cool effects and bonkers imagery.

    Those are some solid recs movieman. Appreciate it. Certainly not going to run out of viewing options anytime soon.

  24. movieman says:

    SB- One upcoming IFC streamer I won’t be recommending is “Resistance.”
    What sounded quasi-intriguing on paper–before becoming the world’s most famous mime, Marcel Marceau was a member of the French Resistance who helped thousands of Jewish orphans escape during WW II–fizzles out thanks to a somnambulant pace and prosaic execution. (It’s also another Holocaust movie that’s much too pretty and clean-scrubbed for its own good.)
    Not helping matters is the fact that Jesse Eisenberg’s Marceau sounds as American as his Mark Zuckerberg while the actors playing his family members all speak thickly accented English.
    Equally risible is choosing to bookend the movie with scenes of Ed Harris (blandly) impersonating General Patton.
    It’s a real stinker.

  25. Stella's Boy says:

    That is not an enticing description. Sounds like a lot of bad choices. Will skip.

  26. Hcat says:

    Curious as to who is the world’s second most famous mime. I would suppose that there is a pretty wide gulf in recognition between 1 and 2.

  27. movieman says:

    Good question, Hcat, lol.
    Would it be impolite to say I don’t really care?
    I’ve always found mimes annoying the same way some people consider clowns to be creepy.

    Really enjoyed 2 movies I watched on the public library’s Hoopla site:

    “Standing Up, Falling Down” (w/ Billy Crystal) and “Come as You Are.”
    Both struck me as the kind of movie that Miramax would’ve positioned into arthouse (and maybe crossover) hit status back in the early to mid ’90s.
    But don’t hold that against them.

  28. cadavra says:

    Re second most famous mime: You could probably make a case for Shields and Yarnell, who were all over TV in the 60s-80s and even had their own CBS variety series. Yarnell on her own played the robot Dot Matrix in SPACEBALLS.

  29. Hcat says:

    Abra Cadavra!!!!

    What I love about you lot is you can put a totally snarky question up and then still get a correct answer to it. Maybe I am projecting an idealized impression of you Cad, but you’re the resource for cinematic shorts inspired by Vaudeville, 50’s monster movies, old Japanese masters, all pictures great and small. Cadavra individualy and all of you collectively, I appreciate how you love all the ingredients of the cinematic soup equally.

  30. movieman says:

    Is anybody else watching HBO’s “The Plot Against America”?
    Good stuff, and I appreciate the fact that it’s a limited series (just 6 episodes, I think), therefore unlikely to run out of steam.
    Also enjoying the second season of the Italian-language “My Brilliant Friend.”

    Still loving “Better Call Saul,” but I’m growing increasingly antsy whenever they cut from the Jimmy/Kim storyline to the drug stuff which isn’t nearly as compelling.

  31. Stella's Boy says:

    I watched the first episode of The Plot Against America. It was very good. Looking forward to the rest of it.

    Better Call Saul is just so good. I agree that the B story with Mike, Gus, and Nacho isn’t as strong but it still offers to much to appreciate, especially the performances.

  32. Stella's Boy says:

    Oh and movieman (or anyone else) have you seen Bacurau? I’ve read great things and am thinking about renting it through that Kino Lorber deal.

  33. movieman says:

    SB: I liked “Bacurau” a lot, but don’t think it’s the MASTERPIECE some have claimed.
    Reminded me a bit of pre-“Parasite” Bong Joon-ho movies like “Okja” and “Snowpiercer:” multi-lingual political allegories wrapped in genre trappings.
    Like those Bongs, it maybe bites off a little more than it can chew. But I was never bored for 2-plus hours, so it’s definitely worth your time.
    Speaking of genre-benders, I actually prefer another upcoming Kino-Lorber title: the Italian Jack London adaptation “Martin Eden.” Great stuff.

    Agree that the drug storyline on “BCS” remains solid in terms of writing, performance, etc.,
    I just find the Jimmy/Kim scenes vastly more intriguing, and therefore get a little cranky whenever they cut to Gus, Mike, et al., lol.

  34. Stella's Boy says:

    I’m with you. There’s so much quality behind both but one BCS storyline feels exciting and unpredictable and essential while the other feels perfunctory and more familiar, like ok we have to do this and it’s a little boilerplate but we’ll give it our all. I don’t think they’ve fully sold why Mike goes to work for Gus.

  35. Hcat says:

    WW84 has been moved to August 14th.

    So that is apparently when Warners thinks we will be back to normal. Certainly more realistic than Easter. I don’t know why seeing that arbitrary date is comforting to me, but it is. Someone planning for an actual end to this gives me a flicker of hope.

  36. Stella's Boy says:

    Actually Tenet is keeping its July 17 release date so that might be when they expect things to return to normal. I don’t share your optimism. Not with orange menace declaring a return to normalcy by Easter and Republicans stating let’s kill grandma because the economy. If we bail now it will only be that much worse. We haven’t even really started yet. I seriously doubt we are going to the movies in July.

  37. Hcat says:

    I also doubt Tenet is going to keep that date. A Nolan movie feels like an easier sell to the holiday crowd than WW84, which will be a triumphant title to reopen theaters to. I would think Greyhound is going to aim at the first available release date possible as well (once the talk hows are back the press tour for that will be epic). Plus Tenet would be less competition for Warner’s other holiday tentpole (sigh) Tom & Jerry.

    The (sigh) is not part of the official title but it damn well should be.

  38. Stella's Boy says:

    So do you think they’re still working out a date for Tenet or seeing what happens in the next couple weeks before deciding? I really don’t think it matters though, unfortunately. If everyone would have practiced social distancing starting two weeks ago and if we had better leadership at the federal level we probably would be watching movies in theaters again by July. A shame.

  39. leahnz says:

    you’re in psychoville and shitler’s the mayor

  40. Stella's Boy says:

    Yeah pretty much leah. Now he’s threatening to withhold lifesaving medical supplies if governor’s aren’t nice to him. A deranged toddler in the White House.

  41. leahnz says:

    feel for y’all. we’re essentially in lock down here for a month, finger’s crossed. tipping point

  42. Stella's Boy says:

    Good luck and stay safe and healthy.

  43. leahnz says:

    i’m very worried for you guys.

    a simple little tip (i think i mentioned my mate’s son who came home out of quarantine in japan — just in time for quarantine here!), not meant to be a medical psa or anything but you can add it to your routine:
    apparently after initial exposure to the pathogen it can live for a few days (i think it was up to four) in the throat before moving into the lungs where it becomes serious and can basically prevent you from absorbing oxygen when you breathe; in quarantine there the kids were advised to gargle with strongly-salted warm water – just a tbsp of regular cheap table salt in a glass of agua – at least twice a day after brushing teeth, as salt is a bit of a natural antimicrobial for the mouth and they think it might help with killing the virus before it journeys to the lungs (same sort of thing you do after a wisdom tooth extraction/the like so quite natural and it really can’t hurt, just take care not to swallow salt water because staying hydrated is also important. i’m gargling like a mofo, my mouth is bloody pristine)

    good luck all

  44. leahnz says:

    soz meant to say before: remember cov-19 is tough af and can live on paper for 24 hours and plastic for 72 hours (not a primary source of transmission but esp for vulnerable people disinfectant spray/quarantining handled objects like groceries/deliveries/mail/etc something to keep in mind)

  45. movieman says:

    Rewatching Spielberg’s “Empire of the Sun” which I thought was kind of “meh” in 1987.
    Looks a LOT better today.
    Hard to believe Christian Bale was ever that young.
    Or that he would grow up to play Dick Cheney and Batman.

    Think I’ll watch “Crip Camp” on Netflix tonight. Sounds terrific.

  46. Hcat says:

    Not sure which director holds the title of ‘most reputable of the disreputable.’ But a man who was certainly a contender has passed.

    RIP Stuart Gordon.

  47. Stella's Boy says:

    Reading so many tributes to Gordon from the horror crowd. Just over and over again people saying what a sweet man he was. Went out of his way to help others time and time again. And of course he made some great flicks. A real loss.

  48. Sideshow Bill says:

    Stuart Gordon….man. He was a classy guy . My childhood/teenage movie geek heroes are dying away. Stay safe John Carpenter. And thank you for some fun horror movies Mr. Gordon.

    I’m starting to feel some strain from all of this so I’ve got to decrease my Internet time. Lots of movie’s queued up. Best to you all. Stay off the moors.

  49. movieman says:

    “Crip Camp” is fantastic!
    The only way it doesn’t win this year’s Best Documentary Oscar is if they cancel the 2020 Academy Awards altogether.

    Was delighted to see that Allen Funt’s “What Do You Say to a Naked Lady?” is on Prime. I’ve wanted to re-see that since…well, pretty much since 1970 when I first saw it as an 11-year-old (lol) at the drive-in.
    And Beatty’s “Reds,” Roeg’s “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” Benton’s “Nobody’s Fool,” Woody’s “Love and Death,” slasher movie supreme “Slumber Party Massacre,” Cronenberg’s “Dead Ringers,” Herzog’s “Nosferatu,” Nichols’ “The Birdcage,” the Burton/O’Toole “Beckett,” “Moonstruck”…among many others I’d always planned to revisit one day.
    Guess that day (or in this case, those days) are finally here.

  50. cadavra says:

    Hcat, thank you so very much for the kind compliments. I try to be helpful whenever I can. As the old saying goes, “Always take the high road. There’s a lot less traffic.” 🙂

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The News Curated by Ray Pride See All


May 1, 2022

The New York Times

"Netflix, the great disrupter whose algorithms and direct-to-consumer platform have forced powerful media incumbents to rethink their economic models, now seems to need a big strategy change itself. It got me thinking about the simple idea that my film and TV production company Blumhouse is built on: If you give artists a lot of creative freedom and a little money upfront but a big stake in the movie’s or TV show’s commercial success, more often than not the result will be both commercial (the filmmakers are incentivized to make films that will resonate with audiences) and artistically interesting (creative freedom!). This approach has yielded movies as varied as Get Out (made for $4.5 million, with worldwide box office receipts of more than $250 million), Whiplash (made for $3.3 million, winner of three Academy Awards), The Invisible Man (made for $7 million, earned more than $140 million) and Paranormal Activity (made for $15,000, grossed more than $190 million).From the beginning, the most important strategy I used to persuade artists to work with me was to make radically transparent deals: We usually paid the artists (“participants” in Hollywood lingo) the absolute minimum allowable by union contracts upfront, with the promise of healthy bonuses based on actual box office results—instead of the opaque 'percentage points' that artists are usually offered. Anyone can see box office results immediately, so creators don’t quarrel with the payouts. In fact, when it comes time for an artist to collect a bonus based on box office receipts, I email a video clip of myself dropping the check off at FedEx to the recipient."
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The New York Times | April 30, 2022

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The New York Times

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The New York Times | April 29, 2022

The Video Section See All

Mike Mills, C’mon C’mon

David Poland | January 24, 2022

The Podcast Section See All