A Moment In History

The Movie Industry Future

Technology and techniques in the making and distribution of movies have progressed immensely in the last few years. But there is, and could be, much more on the near horizon. This article takes a look at some things that have recently come to, or may be coming to, the movie industry.

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Mar 29

Krzysztof Penderecki, Composer of 'The Exorcist' and 'The Shining', Dies at 86

by Nick Holdsworth, the Associated Press

Krzysztof Penderecki, Poland's leading composer and conductor whose music became known worldwide through his work in Hollywood films such as The Shining and The Exorcist, has died. He was 86.

Penderecki died early Sunday at his home in Cracow, southern Poland after a long illness, his family said in a statement released by Ludwig van Beethoven Association, which was founded by his wife Elzbieta. In a statement emailed to The Associated Press, the Ludwig van Beethoven Association said Penderecki had a "long and serious illness." The cause of his death is unknown but was understood to not to be associated with coronavirus; Penderecki tested negative for the virus after his carer was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Often inspired by religious themes or world shattering events, Penderecki's distinctive style was first recognized by a major figure in Hollywood when William Friedkin used four of his pieces, including a score from his controversial 1969 work The Devils of Loudon. Based on a novel by Aldous Huxley about the Inquisition, the score received criticism from the Vatican, which called upon the composer to stop performances. Despite the criticism, he refused to stop.

Penderecki became more successful in Hollywood after Stanley Kubrick made extensive use of his work in The Shining (1980), as did David Lynch in Wild at Heart (1990) and Inland Empire (2006).

Elements of his monumental work Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima - designed to be performed by 52 strings - were used in both in West Craven's 1991 horror The People Under the Stairs, in Alfonso Cuaron's 2006 film The Children of Men, and in the 2017 sequel to Lynch's Twin Peaks.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Mar 28

Netflix is working on a live-action 'Dragon's Lair' movie

Ryan Reynolds is being courted by Netflix to star in a "Dragon's Lair" adaptation (image courtesy NBC / Getty)

by Kris Holt

After the massive success of Stranger Things, Netflix is delving back into '80s culture for another of its upcoming projects. It's developing a live-action movie based on the classic arcade game Dragon's Lair (which the Stranger Things kids actually play in the show's second season).

Netflix says it's in talks with Ryan Reynolds, who has worked on a couple of other flicks for the company, to produce and star as Dirk the Daring. As in the game, the knight will go on a quest to save Princess Daphne from the aforementioned dragon. Daniel and Kevin Hageman -- who count The Lego Movie, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and an upcoming animated Star Trek series among their credits -- are writing the script.

There have been other attempts to make a Dragon's Lair movie, but now Netflix has the rights, it might finally happen. We all know Hollywood doesn't exactly have a stellar track record of turning games into excellent movies. However, Dragon's Lair has a simple, classic story that could translate well to film.

Continue Reading at: Engadget.com

Mar 27

Mark Blum, actor in 'Desperately Seeking Susan' and 'You,' dies of coronavirus complications

Actor Mark Blum, pictured here in 2006, has died from Covid-19 complications (image courtesy Getty)

by CNN

Mark Blum, a veteran stage actor known for films including "Desperately Seeking Susan" and "Crocodile Dundee," has died due to complications from Covid-19, according to a statement released by the Screen Actors Guild.

Blum was 69.

Though he was perhaps best known for the 1985 film "Desperately Seeking Susan," in which he starred alongside Madonna and Rosanna Arquette, he most recently appeared in supporting TV roles on the HBO series "Succession," the Netflix drama "You" and Amazon's "Mozart in the Jungle."

He was a staple in the New York theater community, frequently appearing on Broadway, including the revival of "Twelve Angry Men," though he appeared off Broadway much more often.

Continue Reading at: Fox 8

Mar 25

'Wonder Woman 1984' Release Pushed Until August, 'In the Heights' Postponed Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

A publicity still from the now rescheduled "Wonder Woman 1984" (image courtesy Warner Bros.)

by Rebecca Rubin

Warner Bros. is postponing Diana Prince's return to the big screen. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, "Wonder Woman 1984" will now hit theaters on Aug. 14 instead of June 5.

The studio also indefinitely pulled "In the Heights" - an adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical that was due out June 26 - as well as "Scoob" - an animated film based on "Scooby-Doo" characters set for May 15. "Malignant," a thriller from "Aquaman" director James Wan, was originally scheduled to open on Aug. 14, but was bumped for "Wonder Woman 1984." Those three movies remain undated for now.

"When we greenlit 'Wonder Woman 1984,' it was with every intention to be viewed on the big screen and are excited to announce that Warner Bros. Pictures will be bringing the film to theatres on Aug. 14," Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman, said in a statement. "We hope the world will be in a safer and healthier place by then."

The delays were inevitable as multiplexes across the country remain closed to help halt the spread of the novel virus. Warner Bros. was always committed to debuting its "Wonder Woman" sequel in cinemas, and the studio felt it was realistic for theaters to be up and running again by August. Warner Bros. is now looking for new times to release "In the Heights," "Scoob" and "Malignant."

As Hollywood continues to grapple with the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the entertainment business, studios have been busy postponing major movies en masse. It's a growing list that includes Disney's "Black Widow" and "Mulan," Universal's "Fast & Furious" entry "Fast 9," MGM's James Bond follow-up "No Time to Die" and Paramount's "A Quiet Place" sequel.

Continue Reading at: Variety

Mar 24

Movie theater trade group doesn't expect studios to launch blockbusters on streaming platforms while cinemas are shut down

by Sarah Whitten

The decision to have "Trolls World Tour" skip theaters and go straight to home viewing is an outlier, not the norm, the president of the National Association of Theater Owners said Monday.

Movie theaters in a number of countries have been shuttered in an attempt to stem the rate of infection from the coronavirus. The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the entertainment industry, with studios being forced to make tough decisions about which movies will be delayed and which will be sent to streaming and on-demand platforms.

However, John Fithian, the group's president, joined CNBC's "Squawk Alley" on Monday to say that these closures are only temporary and there will be no major changes to how cinemas operate going forward.

Disney's "Onward," Universal's "The Hunt," "Emma" and "The Invisible Man," Warner Bros.'s "The Way Back," Lionsgate's "I Still Believe" and Sony's "Bloodshot" have all opted to go to home video earlier than expected in the wake of theater closures.

The only theatrical movie that is set to be released online instead of in theaters is Universal's "Trolls World Tour." The film was originally going to be simultaneously released in theaters and at home before all theaters were shuttered.

"We don't see any other studio doing that with their major titles," Fithian said. "Literally, it's only one movie from one studio where the signal has been a change in the business model. All the rest of the movies will come back up this fall and into next year with the same kind of business model we had before the crisis."

Continue Reading at: CNBC

Mar 23

Box office: Reporting on weekend ticket sales goes dark for the first time in 26 years

by Josh Weiss

For the first time in almost three decades, major Hollywood studios are not reporting weekend box-office returns. With mainstream theater chains closed all across the country - and the world - due to the coronavirus pandemic, there's really no point, even if a few hundred theaters (mostly smaller venues, some of them old-school drive-ins) are still operational throughout the United States.

As Deadline reports, a similar lull in box-office reporting occurred just after the Northridge earthquake in the winter of 1994. At the time, Comscore Senior Media analyst Paul Dergarabedian was working for Exhibitor Relations Co. and had to sneak in to work so he could send out numbers to the press.

"The gentleman who ran the company, John Krier, snuck me into the building so I could send the box office estimates via fax to the press and the industry," Dergarabedian told Deadline. "Philadelphia [with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington] was the No. 1 film that weekend and nobody in Southern California was going to the movies that day given the enormity of the situation and as I recall, and the building was shutdown for safety reasons. My boss snuck me past the security guard to run the box office sheets through the fax machine to our industry and press clients."

However, the COVID-19 situation is still unique in that there are absolutely no ticket sales to report. Even if a person could sneak into their office during this time, there'd be nothing to fax. This is a wholly unprecedented situation.

Continue Reading at: Syfy

Mar 22

Marvel Has Reportedly Met Brie Larson's Demands to Lead the New Team in 'Avengers 5'

Brie Larson at a "Captain Marvel" premiere event (image courtesy Getty)

by Perry Carpenter

Brie Larson's role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe may have just expanded. After bringing in over $1 billion at the box office with Captain Marvel and appearing in the highest-grossing film of all time in Avengers: Endgame, Marvel reportedly wants Larson to lead the new team in Avengers 5. How will fans react to Larson taking on an even bigger role in the MCU?

Marvel's casting of Larson as Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, was met with plenty of skepticism. Prior to the release of Captain Marvel in 2019, fans started a campaign in an effort to have Larson replaced.

All the negative attention went away after the film proved to be a massive success at the box office. Larson went on to reprise the role in Endgame and is poised to be an important part of the MCU moving forward.

That said, fans continue to speak out against the actress. A small number of viewers have even started a petition to have Larson removed and replaced with someone that adds more diversity to Marvel's lineup.

There is little doubt that the studio is aware of the backlash, but that did not stop them from moving forward with Larson in a big way.

Continue Reading at: Cheatsheet

Mar 21

How coronavirus could permanently change the movie industry

A scene from Disney's movie "Onward", now released to streaming instead of theaters (image courtesy Pixar / Disney)

by Julia Boorstin

The COVID-19 coronavirus outrbreak has sparked a dramatic first for the movie industry: movies are being made available at home the same time they're available in theaters.

The distinction between a theatrical and a digital release is disappearing as theaters shut down. This could fundamentally changes studios' leverage in negotiations with theater chains, permanently alter consumer behavior and raise the bar significantly for going out to the movies.

The latest announcement came on Friday from Disney: Pixar's "Onward" will be available to buy digitally for $19.99 beginning Friday evening, and then will launch on the Disney+ subscription service on April 3 in the U.S. Its been just two weeks since "Onward" debuted in theaters - typically it would be another two and a half months before the film is available to watch at home via purchase or rental. And Disney would typically wait additional months, not just two weeks, before offering the film on its subscription Disney+. But all the rules are going out the window now that theaters are closed and the potential for that box office revenue is gone.

The closure of major theater chains across the country is driving studios to break what's known in the industry as the "window" the three-month period between when a movie hits the big screen, and when it's offered for video on demand purchase or rental, and then on streaming devices.

For years, many of the studios and theater chains have been locked in a battle over shortening the window: doing so would enable studios to tap into awareness from a theatrical release as well as the value of theatrical marketing dollars to drive downloads or rentals. Until just last week, the major theater chains were so entrenched in their insistence on a three-month window to protect ticket sales, that they refused a one-month window to show Netflix's 'The Irishman.' Theater chains have resisted a push by AT&T/WarnerMedia's Warner Brothers and Comcast's Universal Pictures in particular to allow them to shorten that window for certain films. But now that the theaters have zero negotiating leverage, studios are making unprecedented moves to bring their films to audiences.

Continue Reading at: NBC

Mar 20

Netflix to launch $100M relief fund for screen industry workers affected by coronavirus pandemic

by The Associated Press

Netflix said Friday it is establishing a $100 million US relief fund for workers in the worldwide creative community affected by the coronavirus, which has caused the halt of most film and television production.

"This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide," Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief creative officer, said in a statement.

The majority of the fund will support the hardest-hit workers on Netflix's own productions around the world, Sarandos said, and will supplement the two weeks of pay the company already agreed to pay the cast and crew on suspended productions.

In an effort to support the broader film and television industry, $15 million (all figures US) of the fund will be distributed to "third parties and nonprofits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where we have a large production base," according to the statement.

In the U.S. and Canada, Netflix said it will donate $1 million each to the SAG-AFTRA Covid-19 Disaster Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance in the United States, and $1 million between the AFC, formerly known as the Actors Fund of Canada, and Fondation des Artistes.

Elsewhere, including Europe, Latin America and Asia, Netflix is coordinating with industry organizations to create similar relief efforts, Sarandos said, with announcements planned next week on funding those efforts.

Continue Reading at: CBC

Mar 20

Virus-shocked Hollywood gets break with streaming services

by Lynn Elber, The Associated Press

Sports are on hold, theatres are closed and so are amusement parks, a disaster-movie scenario that has stunned Hollywood. But Americans held captive at home by the coronavirus can turn to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other streaming services, outliers in an entertainment industry brought to an unprecedented standstill.

The recent launch of Disney and Apple services and the upcoming arrival of NBCUniversal's Peacock and WarnerMedia's HBO Max unleashed speculation about winners and losers in an increasingly crowded field. With self-imposed or required isolation the abrupt reality, emerging and niche streamers could draw new subscribers - gains that may even outlast the coronavirus crisis.

The viral outbreak "has caused so much pain across industries globally," said Dan Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities. "Yet on the streaming side, the demand for those services is going to increase exponentially over the next three to six months" as consumers around the world remain stuck in place.

Up to a 20 per cent increase is likely in the amount of time subscribers spend watching streamed fare, and millions of new customers will hop aboard worldwide, Ives predicted.

Pay TV channels could benefit as well as more people become shut-ins and reconsider cutting the cord, slowing an accelerating trend, said analyst Jeffrey Wlodarczak of Pivotal Research Group. Broadcast networks facing rating declines also could see a boost in viewership, he said.

Streaming companies are reacting to the moment in varied ways, but always carefully. Media companies want to be seen as good citizens who are serving up an antidote to anxiety over the virus and housebound boredom, not capitalizing on a disaster.

Continue Reading at: CP24

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