MCN Commentary & Analysis

19 Weeks To *Oscar

December 18, 2020

My Twitter Feed on Warner Media

December 4, 2020

I realize that most of my thinking on what may be a very significant moment ended up in tweets. so I gathered them for a more complete picture. 12/3/20 11:10amJason Kilar will be out of his job by 2022. Waiting on NATO response. But here we go… WB passes Universal as most experimental. Netflix, which […]

What Will Become Of The Movies?

December 3, 2020

There are only five studios left. Disney, Paramount, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. Paramount is as shaky as Don Knotts. Sony is stable, but lacks a clear vision for the future. And now the tie-breaker between the high (Disney and Universal) and the low, Warner Bros is taking itself out of the movie business. Netflix has […]

Thankful 2020

November 26, 2020

After 22 years of doing an annual Thankful column, I shouldn’t let a mad king and a pandemic get in the way. I am always thankful for filmmakers doing the work, even when the work doesn’t live up to my idea of the highest quality. The work of making movies is almost never easy. The […]

22 Weeks To *Oscar: The Politics

November 24, 2020

2020 has been a brutal year… at the movies and everywhere else. Most of us are hopeful that 2021 will bring positive change, starting with the taming of the virus by habit and vaccine. I believe, intensely, that The Academy is making a mistake by moving forward to have a competitive season at a time […]

It’s The Most Wacky Awards Time Of Year

November 18, 2020

Sing it! We are floating in the Mini-Me *Oscar season. Some people are happy. Some less so. But it is undeniable that this is not just a two-month delay in the way things normally are (except at Netflix… and not really even there). We are in a shrunken season, with as many players that are […]

DOC NYC 2020: A Living Page Of Suggestions (11/11)

November 12, 2020

Working my way through DOC NYC 2020 this last couple weeks, I realize the multiple factors that are setting reactions to documentaries. First, there is content, and how each of us connects to that material. Something we didn’t know about something that fascinates us is always the “best” film. Something we know a bit about […]

The State of It: Post-Election

November 9, 2020

Phew. The last time I wrote about the film and television industry, aside from Twitter, was three full weeks ago. Actions have taken place in the industry, but nothing foundational has really changed since then. That doesn’t mean that the losses haven’t hurt and the wins haven’t soothed all of us. NATO still should get […]

10 Things I Actually Know

October 18, 2020

An article this weekend by A.O. Scott at the New York Times and a thread on Twitter by Ted Hope got me riled up. The Scott article is a mélange of consumer and critic judgements about the theatrical experience combined with assertions of how theatrical is seen within the finance of the industry, with almost […]

If This Is A 30-Film Oscar Season, Your BP Nominees…

October 1, 2020

1. Mank – Your likely winner.NomadlandTenetDuneNews of the World C’mon C’mon (no date yet)ConnectedHillbilly ElegyThe Trial of The Chicago SevenThe United States vs. Billie Holiday Possible Slot ReplacementsSoulNo Time To DieMa Rainey’s Black BottomThe Outpost

29 Weeks To Oscar, Maybe: The Entire “Movie” Award Season

September 30, 2020

I was as generous as I could be. 38 movies seems to be the maximum that could be in contention for everything but Shorts, Animation, International, and Documentary. This includes 6 titles that are not currently scheduled to premiere this year, in theaters or out, or which have no announced their awards ambitions. Now… remove, […]

30 Weeks To Oscar, Maybe: Getting Out Of The Gate

September 23, 2020

And here we go… pretending that everything is normal as we take the small handful of movies that would be considered the lower tier of Oscar candidates, and even then, only a small part of that tier, and handing out Oscars like Sour Patch Kids (the here’s-a-sweet-for-your-oddball-screening candy of choice) because what the hell, we […]

Movie Content Scoreboard: Episode 3b – After The Fall, What Next?

September 17, 2020

Let’s look at the movie industry’s situation from another perspective. *The car renters of the film business are moviegoers.*The rental car companies of the film business are the production and distribution companies.*The renters and owners of the parking lots where the automobile waits for pick-ups-and returns is the exhibition business. You can’t force someone to […]

Movie Content Scoreboard: Episode 3a – After The Fall, The Films

September 16, 2020

Let’s start again with… THE UNTOUCHABLES (alphabetical order, as of July) A Quiet Place II Black Widow Coming 2 America The Conjuring 3 Connected The Croods 2 Dune The Eternals Free Guy The King’s Man The Last Duel Mulan No Time To Die Soul Tenet Top Gun Maverick West Side Story Wonder Woman 1984 Okay. […]

Movie Content Scoreboard: Episode 2 – Tenet & Mulan

September 16, 2020

I have avoided writing constantly about the immediate prospects of exhibition and studios because we didn’t get to the next significant event between the last Movie Content Scoreboard in July and the Tenet/Mulan experiments of the last couple weeks. I will deliver “Episode III – After The Fall” soon. But I wanted to keep the […]


September 8, 2020

The Academy under Dawn Hudson continues to be a slow-motion car wreck. It does one thing really well. It covers its ass. African Americans raged on Twitter about #OscarSoWhite. So The Academy responded by announcing its 2020 effort to bring more women and people of color into The Academy. Without getting into the problems of […]

Review: Mulan (spoiler-free)

September 3, 2020

The opening of Mulan, after a magic drone ride through the lush, green Chinese countryside with some wise male voice over about the story we are about to embark on, reminded me of Beauty & The Beast. The camera swoops into a Hakka walled village, establishing the town of personalities and, indeed, Mulan, who is […]

Review: The Comey Rule (spoiler-free)

September 2, 2020

Now and again, after a lot of digging – and we are doing more digging than ever – you find a simple, perfect gem. Such is The Comey Rule. We have been down this road before. And not without some real aesthetic value. There is an entire series of films by Oliver Stone, but the […]

Box Office – Unhinged, 8/23

August 23, 2020

I thought it would be worth doing a deeper dive into Unhinged‘s weekend “win” because the trades are being indulgent in their coverage and this is the start of a few weeks, at least, of the effort to reopen theatrical. The most generous reading of the Unhinged weekend is that the film did $2,195 per […]

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Vanity Fair

"Midnight Cowboy shattered many barriers. Men like these—hungry, hollow outcasts—had never been depicted with such honesty and directness in a mainstream American movie. Neither had this vision of New York—cold, bleak, corrupted. The acting is superb—not just Voight and Hoffman, but a small troupe of brilliant supporting actors—the screenplay terse and powerful, the camerawork fluid, the music poignant and engaging. Even the costumes are memorable. Still, no one expected the movie to make a dime. On the way to their first screening before the executives at United Artists, the chronically anxious Schlesinger turned to Hellman, his producing partner, and asked, 'Really, Jerry, do you think anyone in their right mind will pay good money to see this rubbish?'"
Excerpting Glenn Frankel's "Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation and the Making of a Dark Classic"

Vanity Fair | March 5, 2021

Rushfield: “The exhibition industry, even post-apocalypse, remains what it has been for a long time now: an industry dominated by bottom-feeding venture capitalists looking to squeeze as much money out of it as they can in as short a time as possible before they dump their companies or liquidate them. But what they certainly don't do is invest in anything that won't pay for itself in six weeks. In most businesses, that pattern is what's known as The Death Spiral or The Doom Loop. And that's why the whole windows/theatrical vs. streaming debate is completely screwed up and hopeless. As much as in my heart I would like to be team theatrical until I die, you look at on the one side, you've got a company like Netflix whose lightning rise has been driven at every moment by a fanatical, no-detail-is-too-granular obsession with customer experience and improving that pixel by pixel. On the other side, you've got a company like AMC still making bullying noises about the windows and not budging in putting their gouged customers through an experience that rivals a major airport hub. Its visionary CEO (self-described), after a year of his company being dead in the water and having to discharge most of its employees and having agitated and fumed for a government bailout, awards himself a $3 million bonus.”

March 4, 2021

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