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Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption

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WorldForgot

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Reply #120 on: February 13, 2020, 05:34:00 PM
Timur Bekmambetov Is Making The First Vertical Blockbuster

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V2: Escape From Hell, the next film from filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov, which according to Deadline will be the first major feature film shot in the vertical format. The Russian production, based on a true story, concerns "a captured Soviet pilot who leads an escape from a German concentration camp by hijacking an aircraft." Bekmambetov says the film is "about a man standing up and straightening his shoulders in spite of the circumstances. And about a rescue plane soaring up into the sky,” so he's clearly thought about how framing conventions will change in, for lack of a better word, Vertical Vision.

Bekmambetov is no stranger to experimentation with cinematic form. In addition to directing blockbusters like Ben-Hur and Wanted, he produced first-person action film Hardcore Henry and spearheaded the "screenlife" format, producing a number of films made as computer or smartphone screen captures. The resultant films have been surprisingly good - though the best of the bunch, Bekmambetov's own Profile, sadly has no scheduled release - and that's largely due to Bekmambetov's thoughtful engagement with developing the screenlife format's visual language. He also produced Dead of Night, a vertical-video zombie series shot for Snapchat.

V2 is being shot with smartphone audiences in mind, which makes sense. Part of the hatred for vertical video stems from its appearing cropped when viewed on a traditional horizontal-format screen; perhaps a smartphone release will ameliorate some of that. I for one am intrigued to see what it ends up looking like - if anyone's adept at turning cinematic language inside out successfully, it's Bekmambetov - though I'm certainly skeptical. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but human beings simply see in widescreen - our eyes are next to each other, not on top of one another - and I've never watched anything shot vertically that wouldn't have been better the other way around.

V2: Escape From Hell goes into production next week with a budget of $10 million, and is scheduled for mobile-centric release early next year in both Russian and English-language versions.

One day we'll experience the theater hall masking vertical...


wilberfan

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Reply #121 on: February 13, 2020, 05:59:24 PM
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Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but human beings simply see in widescreen - our eyes are next to each other, not on top of one another.

Let's make a epic, wide-screen re-telling of the Shackleton expedition to the South Pole--and project it UPSIDE-DOWN in the northern hemisphere!  It'll be awesome!  And patrons will wear special boots that contain dry-ice, so they can really FEEL the frostbite!
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Sleepless

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Reply #122 on: February 14, 2020, 09:19:43 AM
This is like, what, the third horseman of the apocalypse? Sorry, I've lost count where we're at...
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Drenk

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Reply #123 on: February 14, 2020, 09:37:50 AM
I've probably already posted the YouTube video about vertical videos, one of the jokes was: George Lucas will be able to release another version of Star Wars. Yes. That was old. Now, websites post vertical videos on YouTube...Like...It wasn't even filmed vertically, what the hell...
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wilberfan

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The move places the digital giant, which estimated 42 billion visits to the site last year, in the company of other streamers seeking to expand audiences and diversify its content portfolios. The movie in question is the documentary “Shakedown,” from filmmaker and conceptual artist Leilah Weinraub. It hails from the upper echelons of the art world, where the project enjoyed a prestige rollout in exhibits at the Whitney Museum and MoMA over the last three years.
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wilberfan

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AMC Theatres Faces Existential Threat From Coronavirus Shutdown: ‘I Don’t See How They Survive’
“We’re witnessing the single greatest disruption of the film industry in American history,” said Eric Schiffer, CEO of private equity firm The Patriarch Organization

AMC Theatres, the nation’s largest movie theater chain with more than 630 venues in the U.S., faces an existential threat after the coronavirus pandemic forced the company to close all of its theaters in the U.S. and U.K. for the next six to 12 weeks.

The debt-laden exhibitor’s stock price has plummeted 83% in the last year, finishing Tuesday’s trading session below $3 a share as its market cap has shrunk to just $271 million. All of this raises questions about whether it will still be left standing when the dust of COVID-19 eventually settles.

“I don’t see how they survive this,” said Eric Schiffer, CEO of private equity firm The Patriarch Organization. And B.Riley FBR analyst Eric Wold on Wednesday downgraded AMC’s stock from a buy rating to neutral and cut the price target to $3.50 from $13.

AMC was in a precarious state even before the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than $5 billion in debt at the end of 2019 and losses of $149 million for the year (after recording a $110 million profit in 2018). During the company’s most recent fourth quarter conference call, AMC CEO Adam Aron said that he and other top executives had agreed to cut their salaries and bonuses for three years in exchange for stock that would only vest if the share price doubles.

One industry insider told TheWrap that the company’s aggressive spending on acquisitions of chains like Carmike and the start of the A-List subscription moviegoing program has put it in a worse short-term position than other national theater chains like Cinemark.

AMC spent millions to build up its A-List service, an alternative to the now-defunct MoviePass that has lured 900,000 subscribers since its June 2018 launch but only turned a profit in the most recent fourth quarter.

In recent years, the company has also gone on an acquisition spree, buying Odeon and UCI Cinemas Holdings along with Carmike Cinemas in 2016, and Nordic Cinema Group in 2017.

For a while, AMC had a financial parachute from Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda, which acquired a majority stake in 2012. But in 2018 Wanda scaled down its position in the theater chain as Chinese regulators incentivized companies to cut back on their foreign holdings. AMC then turned to private equity firm Silver Lake, closing a $600 million investment in September 2018.

The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated AMC’s predicament. Schiffer said this is simply a show of how flawed the theatrical release system is. “We’re witnessing the single greatest disruption of the film industry in American history,” he said. “It’s a horrifying example of how vulnerable the ecosystem has become.”

Not only has the spread of the coronavirus led to the closure of AMC and its rivals’ theaters, but it threatens to upend studios’ theatrical and business model. Studios have delayed productions and pushed release dates, and worse, some have decided to squeeze the theatrical window between an in-theater and video-on-demand home releases on titles like Warner Bros.’ “Birds of Prey” and Universal’s “Trolls World Tour.”

Lightshed media analyst Rich Greenfield told TheWrap that if the “Trolls” on-demand release works, we could see a major change in how the major studios approach theatrical distribution. Debates around changing theatrical windows have been happening in Hollywood for years, but coronavirus has hastened studios’ willingness to innovate.

The writing’s been on the wall so long in fact that in October AMC entered the home entertainment business, launching a video-on-demand service that will be available to members of its AMC Stubs customer loyalty program.

“If we take a step back and look at the wider picture, there’s been a move to streaming, this just escalates it,” Schiffer said. “This is catastrophic for the industry, and it will forever change the industry because you’re engraining in people new behaviors.”

There are many questions that remain unanswerable, including how long the shutdown will last — and how quickly consumers will return to cinemas even if the pandemic subsides. “How many people are going to feel comfortable sitting in a crowded theater still come September?” Schiffer said.

While Wold lowering estimates for the company’s revenue through 2021, he told investors that he didn’t see any long-term impact to AMC or the the industry from moves like Universals to release “Trolls World Tour” direct to consumers.

“Not only do we view this as a unique and strategic move being taken by Universal to take advantage of the significant marketing dollars that have been spent ahead of those releases and to counter the adverse impacts of ‘social distancing’ and recently-impacted moviegoing demand, we continue to believe that this is not a strategy that can be financially successful for most big-budget, high-profile titles — and would expect this move (and possibly others) to be very unique to the near-term outlook and not one that would linger into the second half of 2020 or 2021 as the theaters reopen to the public,” Wold wrote.

“We will assume that attendance and revenues are essentially eliminated until at least the end of April,” he continued. “Although this will create a meaningful strain on AMC’s balance sheet in the coming weeks, we believe the company has the ability to preserve necessary cash by reducing variable operating expenses and near-term capital expenditure spending”

The potential long-lasting ripple effects the pandemic could have on Hollywood aside, the nation’s largest movie theater chain being forced to lock its doors as its shares inch further and further down does not bode well.

The pandemic is likely to sink domestic grosses for 2020 below $8 billion for the first time since 2000, analysts have said, and perhaps more troubling is that admissions could fall below 1 billion tickets sold for the first time since 1976.

“It’s going to be very difficult for them to survive this, they’re going to eat through so much of their cash. They’re likely hoping for some sort of federal bailout,” Schiffer said. “The damage AMC and the motion picture industry has endured has been exacerbated by a banana republic approach to how to fix this… You’ll see a lot of people lose their jobs and some companies are likely going to go under.”

https://www.thewrap.com/amc-theatres-survive-coronavirus/
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wilder

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Distrib Kino Lorber & U.S. Indie Theaters Launch Virtual Exhibition Program With Revenue Splits & Holdovers To Help Offset Coronavirus Closures; Cannes Pic ‘Bacurau’ First Up
via Deadline

Here’s another story of enterprise and innovation among the coronavirus destruction.

U.S. arthouse distributor Kino Lorber is launching a virtual theatrical exhibition initiative called Kino Marquee to enable movie theaters shuttered by the coronavirus outbreak to continue to serve their audiences and generate revenue.

Virtual holdovers will be determined by performance, and revenue will be split between distributor and exhibitor. The initiative is also designed to let movie audiences support their local theaters.

The initiative has been designed to emulate the moviegoing experience as much as possible. Films will be booked from Fridays to Thursdays and presented on dedicated web pages headed by each theater’s branded marquee.

The first Kino Marquee screenings are with New York’s Film at Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music and Jacob Burns Film Center. All will open with Kino Lorber’s well-received Cannes Film Festival title Bacurau, which would otherwise now be on screen in each venue. Other titles are due in coming weeks.

There is a universal price point of $12 and 12 theaters have signed up to date. Scroll down for the list of venues. Invitations are going to all sixty theaters across the U.S. who had already committed to book the film.

Although Kino Marquee is hosted on Kino Lorber’s recently launched Kino Now VOD platform, visitors to the Kino Now website will not be able to navigate to theaters’ virtual screening rooms. Rather, each theater will promote their own film page via traditional means, including reviews, eblasts and social media posts. Virtual ‘ticket’ buyers from the theater’s Kino Marquee site will receive a link that gives them admission to an online screening room.

Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles and starring Sônia Braga and Udo Kier, Bacurau won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes and went on to play Toronto and New York Film Festivals. Set in a near-future Brazil, the film follows a succession of sinister events that mobilizes all the residents of a village.

FLC opened Bacurau on March 6 and posted good numbers until they elected to close on March 12 in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and prioritize the health of their community, and which included cancelling a Q&A with the directors who were over from Brazil. BAM opened the film on March 13 only to show it one day before being forced to shut down, and Jacob Burns had to cancel their March 13 opening that morning.

“When theaters started to close, we at Kino Lorber turned our thoughts to how we could collaborate with our independent theater partners across the country. We cannot release the kinds of films we do without their support,” said Wendy Lidell, SVP of Theatrical Distribution at Kino Lorber.

“Of course we wanted to find a way to keep our current film release in front of audiences, but to do so in a way that would also benefit our exhibition partners. We want to help ensure that these theaters will be able to reopen their doors after this crisis passes. The Kino Marquee program offers an opportunity for theaters to generate revenue while their doors are closed.”

Theaters currently aboard:
Film at Lincoln Center (New York, NY)
BAM (Brooklyn, NY)
Jacob Burns Film Center (Pleasantville, NY)
The Little Theatre (Rochester, NY)
Santa Barbara International Film Festival Riviera Theatre (Santa Barbara, CA)
The Frida Cinema (Santa Ana, CA)
Denver Film / Sie FilmCenter (Denver, CO)
Belcourt Theater (Nashville, TN)
Loft Cinema (Tucson, AZ)
Austin Film Society (Austin, TX)
Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus, OH)
Aperture Cinema (Winston Salem, NC)


wilberfan

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This is very compassionate and smart, right?

Netflix sets up $100-million coronavirus relief fund for Hollywood workers

While the world turns to Netflix for entertainment during the coronavirus crisis, the Los Gatos, Calif.-based streaming giant is lending a hand to workers who’ve lost their jobs from production cancellations.

The company said it was creating a $100-million fund to provide emergency support to workers on its productions, including electricians, carpenters and drivers, said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, in a blog post Friday.

With almost all television and film production now shuttered globally, hundreds of thousands of crew and cast are without jobs, he said.

Some $15 million of the fund will be directed toward helping the broader television and film industry via third parties and nonprofit agencies providing emergency relief to out-of-work cast and crew in the countries where Netflix has a large production base.

“Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world,” Sarandos said in the statement. “We’re in the process of working out exactly what this means, production by production. This is in addition to the two weeks’ pay we’ve already committed to the crew and cast on productions we were forced to suspend last week.”

As the coronavirus has spread worldwide, productions have been forced to close and more than 100,000 workers across the entertainment industry are estimated to have lost work.

“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,” Sarandos said.

Netflix said it would 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 U.S., and $1 million between the AFC and Fondation des Artistes. In Europe, Latin America and Asia, where Netflix has a big production presence, the company said it is working with existing industry organizations to create similar community emergency relief efforts.

A group of unions in media, arts and entertainment called on the federal government Friday to help workers in the industry, many of whom are paid from job to job and have no access to state unemployment relief.

“Overnight, production and performances industry-wide shut down indefinitely, leaving most entertainment and media workers without a source of income to cover essential expenses,” said the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, in a statement Friday. “Workers who are left without a paycheck and may not qualify for unemployment have no recourse unless Congress acts now.”

AFL-CIO (DPE) is a coalition of 24 unions representing more than 4 million professional and technical union members.

Groups including the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and the founders of the #PayUpHollywood movement have launched relief funds to help assistants and other workers.

Several prominent writers, Hollywood producers and others donated more than $300,000 online for assistants facing loss of work.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents more than 150,000 entertainment industry workers, on Tuesday said it committed $2.5 million in donations to three charities: the Actors Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund, and the Actors Fund of Canada.
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eward

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Nice. If only I still worked for them. C'mon, CBS...
If I could move the night I would
And I would turn the world around if I could
There's nothing wrong with loving something you can't hold in your hand
You're sitting on the edge of the bed, smoking and shaking your head
Well there's nothing wrong with loving things that cannot even stand
Well there goes your moony man
With his suitcase in his hand
Every road is lined with animals
That rise from their blood and walk
Well the moon won't get a wink of sleep
If I stay all night and talk


wilder

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Kino Marquee Virtual Arthouse Program Expands To 150 Cinemas With Alamo Drafthouse & Laemmle In Streaming Cannes Winner ‘Bacurau’
via Deadline

Kino Lorber’s Kino Marquee initiative, which looks to help arthouses at a time when they’ve been shuttered in the coronavirus climate, has mushroomed from 12 theaters last week to 150 including Alamo Drafthouse and Laemmle Theaters.



For the price of $12, Kino Marquee is streaming last year’s Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner, Bacurau, on arthouses’ regional cinema websites. Those who pay to watch the Sonia Braga movie, say on the Laemmle site, the profits are then split between the theater and Kino Lorber. The Kino Marquee was launched to enable movie audiences to continue to support their local theaters by paying to view pics digitally during the nationwide shutdown of theaters.

Each rental of Bacurau lasts fives days, and there’s a virtual Q&A with filmmakers and cast hosted by BAM which will be available for all to watch on Wednesday, April 1 at 8pm ET. Kino Lorber also plans to offer top films from other independent distributors via Kino Marquee.

Here’s an example of what the Kino Marquee looks like on LA’s Laemmle site. Kino Lorber is helping each chain build out their virtual streaming web pages. Each theater will then promote to their moviegoing memberships via their newsletters about upcoming Kino and sister Zeitgeist label movies.

Specific movie theaters will stream Bacurau during specific dates and you can find that rollout schedule here which is constantly updating.

Ken Loach’s festival favorite Sorry We Missed You is also currently available through Kino Marquee with Film Forum in New York, where the film’s theatrical premiere (launched March 4) was cut short by the theater’s closure. Multiple cities will follow later this week.

Kino Lorber President and CEO Richard Lorber said, “We’ve all been thrust into a brave new cinema world. Kino Marquee offers film lovers and the theaters a way to mutually support each other – audiences can keep going to newly released movies and theaters can keep selling tickets to great cinematic experiences online. We offer Kino Marquee as a lifeline to help keep art house cinemas in business and keep the work of top independent filmmakers under the halo of first release virtual screens.”

“We’re grateful for our partners at Kino Lorber, who are leading the charge in Virtual Cinema screenings that support theaters like Alamo Drafthouse,” said Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO. “We’re happy to be able to share Bacurau with our audience and continue celebrating our shared film culture.”

Museum of Fine Arts Curator of Film & Video Marian Luntz added, “The nimble initiative of Kino Lorber to launch Kino Marquee is a fantastic response to the serious and totally unexpected situation we are all sharing. Our devoted filmgoers, along with others across the U.S., can watch spring releases everyone planned to see in our theaters, keeping them engaged with our programming and contemporary world cinema. We hope everyone will remain safe and healthy while taking advantage of Bacurau and other films we plan to offer.” The MFAH launched their virtual theater today to screen the film.

Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles and starring Braga and Udo Kier, Bacurau is set in a near-future Brazil, and follows a succession of sinister events that mobilizes all the residents of a village.


wilberfan

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I've already considered 'renting' ONCE WERE BROTHERS--quite eager to see it.  But I've also considered waiting until it comes around--and saving the $12 for kindling when I'm living in the back yard and cooking squirrels for sustenance.  I did buy a Laemmle Gift Card to help support them in our collective hour of need, though.
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eward

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Once Were Brothers is one of the last things I got to see on a big screen before all this craziness went down. I say splurge! It doesn't reinvent the form or anything, but if you're into its subject you should find it plenty satisfying.
If I could move the night I would
And I would turn the world around if I could
There's nothing wrong with loving something you can't hold in your hand
You're sitting on the edge of the bed, smoking and shaking your head
Well there's nothing wrong with loving things that cannot even stand
Well there goes your moony man
With his suitcase in his hand
Every road is lined with animals
That rise from their blood and walk
Well the moon won't get a wink of sleep
If I stay all night and talk