| December 4, 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|
|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)|
|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.
|355 (Kinberg directed – Chastain/Cruz/N’Yongo)||U|
|Clifford The Big Red Dog||Par|
|Death on The Nile||Disney/Fox|
|I’m Your Woman (Rachel Brosnahan, Julia Hart dir)||Amazon|
|The New Mutants||Disney/Fox|
|News of the World||U|
|Peter Rabbit 2||Sony|
(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’mon||A24||Mike Mills, Joaquin Phoenix (in post)|
|David Copperfield||Searchlight||Armando Iannucci, released in UK|
|The Duke||no dom||Roger Michel/Broadbent/Mirren|
|The Eyes of Tammy Faye||Searchlight||Chastain/Garfield/D’Onofrio, in post, dated 2021|
|The French Dispatch||Searchlight||Wes Anderson (undated 7/23/20)|
|Next Goal Wins||Searchlight||Taika Waititi (in post)|
|Nomadland||Searchlight||Chloe Zhao (in post)|
|On The Rocks||A24||Sofia Coppola (in post)|
|Promising Young Woman||Focus||undated|
|Stillwater||Focus||Tom McCarthy/Matt Damon|
DOCS THAT COULD BE CONVERTED
|Velvet Underground||Todd Haynes|
HORROR THAT COULD BE CONVERTED
|False Positive (Ilana Glazer)||A24|
GAY-POSITIVE COMEDIES THAT COULD BE CONVERTED
|Everybody’s Talking About Jamie||Disney/Fox|
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.
| December 4, 2020
| December 3, 2020
| November 26, 2020
Steven Zeitchik: "It's worth remembering -- because many people seem to have forgotten -- that before the pandemic U.S. movie theaters had their best two-year period ever, with a collective $23 billion in revenue. This isn't some dying model that digital needs to come in and save. Those sales, incidentally, likely include the many people who swear they will never go to a movie theater again. When the new Marvel or Jordan Peele or Mission: Impossible or Parasite comes only to theaters, I suspect they'll be lining up like they always have. What’s troubling is the false binary: streaming vs theaters. You can like both! Netflix is good and theaters are good! Institutions don't have to die just because something new is cool. And historically it takes more than one company in a strategically tough spot to kill a model. Of course ownership can change and experiences can change. We watched silent films and newsreels and serials in movie houses, and then we saw gritty crime films and pop films and dramatic films, and then 3-D films and franchise films. And there weren't showtimes and then there were showtimes, and seats weren't reserved and then they were reserved; we went from movie palaces to multiplexes to downtown dine-in rooms with reclining seats. And studios owned theaters and then families owned theaters and then entrepreneurs did and then big corporate chains and soon studios might own theaters again, and package movies as experiences or events or something new we haven't yet thought of. Of course it's theoretically possible an entire American institution just goes away. But given how durable it's been over the decades, I wouldn't bet on it. And certainly not because one company, for its own internal reasons, at one moment, needs to put its movies somewhere else."
| December 5, 2020
"Stankey decided to use HBO as the centerpiece for a new mission: Build a true Netflix competitor, dubbed HBO Max. When Stankey took over as AT&T’s CEO, he passed that goal to new WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, who previously launched Hulu. Stankey has dismantled the old Time Warner, spurring dozens of executives from all parts of the company to depart. He is attempting to funnel all of the company’s resources from cable, film, and HBO into HBO Max. Disney, Comcast’s NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS are all going through similar changes now to prepare for a world where subscription streaming services overtake cable as the world’s primary form of television consumption. Stankey — the MBA-buzzword, deep-voiced phone guy — was ahead of the trend. Still, his vision irritated some veteran WarnerMedia executives, who question Stankey’s knowledge of media. The execution of his mission, which Kilar has overseen since May, has been marred by strategic confusion and culture clashes, according to more than a dozen high-ranking WarnerMedia employees, about half of whom have left the company in the past six months. For now, investors don’t like what they see. AT&T is trading near a 10-year low."
| December 5, 2020
Nicholas Kristof: "I've spent the last few months reporting this piece about Pornhub. What most people don't realize is that it's infested with rape videos. I talked to child trafficking survivors whose rape videos the company had distributed and monetized. Unconscionable. Let's be clear: The issue is not porn, it's rape. Just as the problem with Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby wasn't the sex but the lack of consent, it's the same with Pornhub. Search "13yo" on Pornhub, and you get more than 100,000 videos. There are playlists called "Under Age." A special question for Canada, because Pornhub is based in Montreal. Prime Minister Trudeau, you are rightly proud of your reputation as a feminist. So why does Canada host a company that inflicts rape videos on the world? It's not just Pornhub, of course. Companies have enjoyed impunity, so even as we prosecuted individuals like Jeffrey Epstein we allowed corporations like Mindgeek (which owns Pornhub) to monetize rape videos. Pornhub is Jeffrey Epstein times 1,000. Solutions are difficult and complicated. I don't have perfect ways to solve the problem of online child sexual abuse. But I do outline steps that would help. These survivors risked so much to tell their stories."
| December 5, 2020
| December 13, 2019
| December 4, 2019
| December 4, 2019