MCN Commentary & Analysis

Movie Content Scoreboard, as of July 2020

I am beyond sick of reading about every minor move by any studio with any theatrical movie being hailed as a paradigm-changing event. It’s absurd.

But I realized I haven’t broken down what there is and where it is likely to land. So here we go.

I made a list of 107 studio releases (Disney / Universal / WB / Sony / Paramount) and high-profile titles from indies like A24 and MGM that are ready to go or in some stage of post-production that suggests they will be available to release in the next 15 months. Please feel free to send in corrections. There are details that I know and details that I don’t know. Some of these titles won’t be ready. Some will. But mostly, this should be a pretty fair picture of the content on hand.

First, the nineteen 2020 movies that are unlikely to be repurposed for VOD or any other reduced-profile release, based on expectations. (Ten of the 19 have already had to move at least once.) Anything that is expected to gross more than $400 million in worldwide theatrical isn’t going anywhere. The closer to that number — or the more shaky the prediction -— the more of a chance that it will be converted.

As I started writing in June, there may be an experiment or two in Foreign-First release. But the danger of this remains that the U.S. is underwater, specifically, four of the five largest cities in America (NY, LA, Houston, Phoenix) and eight of the Top 10 (add San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas and San Jose) and piracy is a real issue, especially since there is no clear date for theaters to release in NY, CA, TX or AZ.

THE UNTOUCHABLES (alphabetical order)

A Quiet Place II (moved) (2021 as of 7/24)
Black Widow (moved)
Coming 2 America
The Conjuring 3 (moved)
Connected (animation, Lord/Miller)
The Croods 2
Dune
The Eternals (moved)
Free Guy (moved)
The King’s Man
The Last Duel
Mulan (moved) (undated 7/23/20)
No Time To Die (Bond) (moved)
Soul (moved)
Tenet (moved)
The King’s Man
Top Gun Maverick (moved) (2021 as of 7/24)
West Side Story
Wonder Woman 1984 (moved)

The next group is studio movies that the studios absolutely want to hold for theatrical, but under the right circumstances, could push out in some other way… such as by streamer or by sale.

Please be clear… inclusion on this list does not come with any specific assumption that any of these studios are not committed to these films. But budget and relatively limited theatrical upside make them titles that could be considered for commercial experimentation.

POTENTIALLY TOUCHABLE

355 (Kinberg directed – Chastain/Cruz/N’Yongo)U
Clifford The Big Red DogPar
Death on The NileDisney/Fox
Deep WaterDisney/Fox
I’m Your Woman (Rachel Brosnahan, Julia Hart dir)Amazon
The New MutantsDisney/Fox
News of the WorldU
Peter Rabbit 2Sony
RespectMGM-ish
Rumble (animation/WWE)Par

(Paramount’s Without Remorse is dated 2021… and is being discussed for a sale to Amazon. 7/23)

Next is the High Art group. Established filmmakers with strong reputations, but susceptible (in spite of contracts committing to theatricals) to potential reconsideration of their distribution windows.

HIGH ART MEANT FOR THEATRICAL BUT THAT COULD SCORE ON VOD OR STREAMING

C’mon C’monA24Mike Mills, Joaquin Phoenix (in post)
David CopperfieldSearchlightArmando Iannucci, released in UK
The Dukeno domRoger Michel/Broadbent/Mirren
The Eyes of Tammy FayeSearchlightChastain/Garfield/D’Onofrio, in post, dated 2021
The FatherSPCHopkins/Coleman
The French DispatchSearchlightWes Anderson (undated 7/23/20)
Next Goal WinsSearchlightTaika Waititi (in post)
NomadlandSearchlightChloe Zhao (in post)
On The Rocks A24Sofia Coppola (in post)
Promising Young WomanFocusundated
StillwaterFocusTom McCarthy/Matt Damon

DOCS THAT COULD BE CONVERTED

Sparks Edgar Wright
Velvet Underground Todd Haynes

HORROR THAT COULD BE CONVERTED

CandymanU
False Positive (Ilana Glazer)A24

GAY-POSITIVE COMEDIES THAT COULD BE CONVERTED

Everybody’s Talking About JamieDisney/Fox
Happiest SeasonSony

FILMS WITH STUDIO DISTRIBUTION THAT SEEM LIKE POSSIBLE VOD TITLES

Cinderella (Live action w/ Billy Porter as Fairy Godmother)Sony
The Empty Man (horror/thriller, originally Aug 20)Disney/Fox
The Good House (Forbes/Wolodarsky feel-good w/ Sigourney, Kline)Amblin 
Land (Robin Wright directorial debut)Focus
Let Him Go (Costner/Lane weepie/feel good – Bezucha dir)Focus

FILMS WITHOUT THEATRICAL DISTRIBUTION BUT WITH STUDIO-LEVEL ELEMENTS THAT MIGHT GO VOD AFTER MISSING FESTS

After We Collided (Roger Kumble dir w/ younger sister of K Langford)
Blonde (fictional Marilyn Monroe movie, no big names)
Kilroy Was Here (Kevin Smith, self-produced, ComicCon @ Home)
The Tax Collector (David Ayer/Shia LaBeouf w/ non-theatrical distributor)
The Water Man (Oyelowo directing debut, produced by Harpo)

That covers 2020. It is possible that there are some unsold films that, like Broken Hearts Gallery, could be bought and converted to 2020 VOD product.

Looking at 2021, most of the titles are in the “untouchable” category. The list is not anywhere close to complete.

But there are already 20 sequels/spin-offs on my list of 38. None are close to finished. Some need more shooting. Others, elaborate post-production.

So… I end this piece here for now and spend time considering how the back-up of 2020 films will affect 2021. (One amusing note is that some still have the moved F9 and the shot-at0the-same-time F10 both coming out next April.) This should give you a fair amount to chew on.

30 Responses to “Movie Content Scoreboard, as of July 2020”

  1. Dan says:

    The Tax Collector has a distributor and is opening in theaters/VOD next month.

  2. David Poland says:

    Well, we know it’s not likely to actually open in theaters. And I have little doubt that they would sell it to a bigger company. They probably won’t.

  3. james says:

    Rumor is that Disney’s SOUL will go straight to Disney+.
    https://twitter.com/SkylerShuler/status/1286433136553758720

  4. Bob Burns says:

    This pile-up goes to show the value of theatrical. If it wasn’t so valuable the distributors would have already cashed in. Theatrical when it opens, will be piled up with content and audiences will be hesitant, but the studios still see theatrical as so valuable they aren’t moving their assets to VOD. It helps that money is cheap. Nonetheless they have ongoing expenses even during shutdowns.

  5. -- says:

    Blonde is with Netflix, and stars Ana De Armas, directed by Andrew Dominik, produced by Brad Pitt/Plan B so not really sure how you’re tossing this aside as if it’s a throwaway.

  6. SideshowBill says:

    Unhinged looks like it could be a real winner streaming. Oh, and hi everybody! Hope you are all safe and well. I miss movies. Ugh

  7. David Poland says:

    James… extremely unlikely.

    I have noting against Blonde. imdb doesn’t have the Netflix sale.

    Unhinged may do $30 million on streaming… if it’s very lucky.

  8. Rams says:

    Streaming is a subscription- based model. VOD is based on per view rental or buy. I really don’t need to tell anyone that distinction. Unhinged would make nothing on “streaming.” Also Netflix nor any of its bubble people fail to mention that their suspect figures for their suspect movies are GLOBAL for two minutes a pop.. And of course no greenbacks. Just supposed subscription increases. LOL Again I’d again welcome you cinephiles to have a look- see at Netflix’s daily top ten list. If this is the future, God help us.

  9. corey says:

    In The Heights?

    I could see it trying VOD/Streaming based on the success of Hamilton on D+. Or perhaps that is just what I hope. Because I want to see it rightnow.

  10. amblinman says:

    “Streaming is a subscription-based model. VOD is based on per-view rental or buy. I really don’t need to tell anyone that distinction. Unhinged would make nothing on “streaming.”

    Yeah? Like…Unhinged would just be given to Netflix for free?

  11. Rams says:

    Really? You’re getting into semantics. DP said “Unhinged” “may do” implying it would make so many greenbacks on rentals. Netflix would play your home movies though if they could get their hands on them… and pay $30 million. For some reason Netflix subscribers only watch 2% of their content. That is truly crazy. Probably, mainly the series starring Zac Efron.

  12. Hcat says:

    Wondering where you get that 2 percent number from. Are you saying that each subscriber only watches 2 percent of the content available? Because that could make sense. I buy less than two percent of the available items at a grocery store. But it seems insane to me that 98 percent of the content available on Netflix in a given month goes untouched.

  13. Rams says:

    If you Google it, The Wrap has an article on the 2% figure( to begin with.) I didn’t pull the information out of my you know what. Grocery stores and Netflix are apples and oranges. I would love to know where “Beasts of No Nations” or whatever it is called is sitting on its top 5000 list today.

  14. Stella's Boy says:

    I read The Wrap story and indeed you are correct Hcat. I feel like a shill for Netflix which I don’t mean to be but since they started posting here almost all Rams does is rant and rave against Netflix in a manner that suggests they killed their dog and ran off with their partner.

  15. amblinman says:

    Netflix can totally have my home movies for $30m. SUCKERZ ITS ALL DOGS

  16. Stella's Boy says:

    Have watched a bunch of stuff recently. Some brief thoughts.

    -The Rental: Familiar but solid horror flick. Nice setting and cinematography. Good cast. Enjoyed the reveal and payoff. Pretty dark and brutal. B.

    -Amulet: Fantastic and a hell of a debut. Slow burn. Very moody and creepy. Like the aesthetic and how it’s contemporary but could be a period piece. Some really haunting imagery. A-.

    -The Gentlemen: Racist trash. Waste of a stellar cast. A filmmaker desperately grasping for the good ol’ days. Might have been fresh in 2000 but incredibly stale in 2020. Hated it. D-.

    -Impetigore: Another solid horror flick. Amazing opening, atmospheric and eerie midsection, and kickass conclusion. Best jump scare of the year. Liked it a lot. A-.

    -Motherless Brooklyn: Kind of amazed that a studio ponied up the cash for this. Did they really think it would make any money? Great cast and production values. Vanity project. Respectable but missing something. B-.

    -Palm Springs: Enjoyable but slight and overrated. Would have worked better as a short. Love Cristin Milioti’s performance. B-.

    -The Old Guard: Really entertaining. Great action. Strong performances. Enjoyed spending time in its world. A bit overlong but overall it’s fun. B+.

  17. Hcat says:

    Rams, not accusing you of pulling things out of your……hat. But the article was slightly misrepresented. If you use the same criteria, even avid Cable television subscribers probably watch Less than a half a percent of the content available. Spotify subscribers percentage of what they listen to vs titles available would be too infantilism to count.

    I am curious about your animosity and would like to guess which professions were most terribly hit by netflix. Were you a Blockbuster clerk? Or perhaps the person who sold infomercials to uhf stations?

  18. Hcat says:

    Stella, thanks for the heads up on Gentleman. It’s been siting near the top of my rental queue and now I can put something else in its place. Though honestly my film watching has plummeted lately along with my enthusiasm regarding everything.

  19. Stella's Boy says:

    My pleasure but in all fairness a lot of people seem to like it as Ritchie is clearly trying to emulate his early work and some folks are down with that but it didn’t work for me at all.

    So that AMC and Universal deal is interesting.

  20. Graeme says:

    Whatever The Beatles Get Back/Let It Be d. Peter Jackson has also been moved to 2021 I think.

  21. Hcat says:

    I dont know much of the details of the AMC deal but it sounds a little bonkers. Three weekends in theaters before hitting a premium VOD and then all the other windows intact. Will be a boon to Uni since they will not have to spend their marketing dollars twice, and even before the pandemic one out of two people didn’t set foot in a movie theater (wondering if it goes back up to that after vaccination).

    My biggest question is how does this work with the other chains. Will they just not play uni product? or they just don’t get to participate in the VOD rollout ( I thought I read that AMC gets a cut from the VOD rental).

    If anyone can link to an article on the deal, and whether it is temporary or permanent, I would love to see it. Of all the awfulness of this year this probably doesn’t make the top thousand bad things to have happened, but I don’t like what it signals.

  22. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Has anyone else started stockpiling unwatched recent movies to try and get them through the content gap? I have yet to see A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, Parasite, Little Women, Queen & Slim, Watchmen, The Gentlemen, Eurovision. So I’m parsing them out like a ration packet. These can be August’s movies, these can be September’s movies, and so on.

    I’m like a squirrel gathering nuts for the Winter.

  23. Amblinman says:

    I’m getting a little burned out on staring at my TV screen regardless of what’s playing on it.

    Thank god for great weed delivered to your door.

  24. leahnz says:

    “Thank god for great weed delivered to your door”
    this is not fair

    i watched a decent little low-key disaster flick on our amazon P i’d never heard of, ‘cutterhead’ (danish but eng. language), the end rather stuck with me. what’s it take to survive

  25. SideshowBill says:

    Amblinman my daughter delivers my weed then I make into edibles because of my shit lungs. But it has helped me a lot through this. Watching movies high is fun but I get easily lost lol. But it’s great for Cuphead or MLB The Show. My PS4 has been a life saver. Movies? Rewatched 50/50 last night and it’s still wonderful. I haven’t been watching as much lately either though I have a long list

  26. Pete B. says:

    Anyone else visiting a Drive-In? If you had told me the first movies I would see on a screen bigger than my TV were ones I saw before the wife & I got married – just celebrated 32 years – I wouldn’t have believed you. But with $5 a carload, there we were (wife, dog & me) seeing Spaceballs & Three Amigos. A nearby in-door theater is having Pulp Fiction, just don’t know if it’s worth the risk to see it again on the big screen.

  27. SideshowBill says:

    Host , in Shudder, was the best 56 minute movie watching I’ve had in months. It was a ton of fun and scared my balls off. Makes me hungry for more.

  28. John E says:

    So much for the untouchable Mulan.

    I liked the Ritchie throwback vibe of The Gentlemen, and especially Hugh Grant’s seedy narrator, but yeah, the white guys are the good guys, and the minorities are the bad guys.

    I couldn’t finish Eurovision. I did like this little AP thriller The Vast of Night. Terrific micro-budget debut. I also loved Shirley and Palm Springs on Hulu.

  29. Stella's Boy says:

    Host is indeed excellent. Some extremely good scares. Really well shot and edited. Big fan. Shudder is kicking all kinds of ass. Impetigore is excellent. In Search of Darkness a great doc. The Beach House is very good. Fun older titles mixed in with high quality new ones. Will be watching La Llorona tonight. Hearing good things.

  30. Stremove.com says:

    July was a big month for Netflix. Between new originals like The Old Guard, Fatal Affair, Desperados and more, not to mention classic films like Cloud Atlas, Total Recall and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, to name just a few, there was lots for subscribers to get stuck into when it came to movies.

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