XIXAX Film Forum


Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption

Sleepless · 151 · 31505

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

wilder

  • Moderator
  • *****
    • Posts: 4256
Filmmakers Should Avoid Online Film Festivals, Unless They Ask These Questions — Opinion
By Brian Newman
IndieWire

Many filmmakers are wondering if they should accept offers from online programs. Here are the hard questions they should ask.

As the coronavirus crisis continues, most film festivals are being forced to postpone, and many have opted to launch online versions of their events. But as these new versions of film festivals keep popping up, I am getting asked by filmmakers: “Should we participate in this?” Or, more often: “Am I missing something? Why would we do this?”

My answer is always the same: If you are launching a brand-new film that is still seeking distribution, no. If you have a short, or an older film, or one where you have locked in distribution (and if your distributor agrees), or one where you are doing a DIY release — sure, consider it. But if you are trying to premiere a feature film, and you don’t yet have distribution, then as of now you can’t consider these online festivals because buyers consider them a conflict with their distribution of your film. They do NOT see it as word-of-mouth building, or good PR, or a way to test/prove audience demand. They see it as a distraction at best, and lost income, or a loss of control or a loss of premiere status at worst.

That’s why you don’t see many feature films premiering as part of the recent SXSW/Amazon deal (rumors are that the less-than-generous terms didn’t help). And that’s why Tribeca quickly announced that its new “We Are One” mega-festival isn’t intended for most new films, either. Because until Ted Sarandos, or someone else at Netflix, gives the greenlight for films to premiere at online festivals before streaming, no one is going to do it.

I am helping about 11 films with their festivals and distribution right now (brand-film clients and one film that I produced), and most of them are in festival limbo-land. Dozens of festivals have emailed to say they’re launching an online/virtual festival (it’s not virtual unless you’re in VR, but that’s another post), and they ask whether the selected film wants to participate. Of those letters, only two addressed why the filmmaker might want to participate, and how the system would work. Only one offered any kind of compensation to the filmmakers. But even when the festival offered compensation, that wouldn’t work for my clients with new films.

There remains too much danger that distributors will see this as a problem. But still, kudos to those two festivals. Even though my clients couldn’t accept their offers, we had something to consider, and it was clear that the festival had thought about how this impacted the filmmaker.

It seems to me that film festivals launching these new online events are thinking about many things – how to serve local audiences; how to keep their brands alive; how to salvage some part of their festival; how to not lose as much money; how to build a new model. All of these are good and valid things to consider that might be solved by an online festival. I remain skeptical,  but too few are thinking about the impact on filmmakers.

Film festivals have two main sets of constituents — audiences and filmmakers — and you can’t build a program for the former and forget the latter, but that’s precisely what’s happening. Too few people are asking, “How can we build something that best helps filmmakers?” And that’s the question that matters, especially at a time when most filmmakers have lost all of their income, and when they are under severe duress. Remember, festivals, even as they struggle, might bounce back next year. But a film stuck in limbo could completely disappear, along with the career of the filmmaker who made it.

I’ve spoken with many festival directors in the past few weeks, and a common refrain is that they wish Netflix/Amazon/et al. would see things their way and say these online festival premieres are okay. Many even signed a pledge advocating for a new business model around premieres. But none of the major/market festivals signed this pledge, nor did any of the most important buyers. If what you’re offering is going to hurt filmmakers, why offer it? It shifts the problem to the filmmakers, and in the best case, they look like jerks for not participating; and in the worst case, they do participate and possibly ruin the marketability of their films.

As I speak with other producers, another common question arises: Are any of these festivals gathering input from filmmakers on what they want? Many filmmakers are afraid to ask this question out loud because they don’t want to jeopardize their relationships with the gatekeepers who are often so crucial to their film’s success. Filmmakers need more people advocating for improved festival business models that help audiences discover films without jeopardizing their future success.

Festivals need to invite these conversations and have them more transparently, because while figuring it out won’t be easy, this is a field-wide issue, and it needs robust debate and solutions that take into account all stakeholders. If we’re going to use this crisis to build a new business model, let’s not do it in a vacuum; instead, let’s step back and use this opportunity to build a new system that’s better than the old one.

So, what do filmmakers want? In my conversations, a few things keep coming up. First, we need to acknowledge that in the current climate, we don’t just need festivals for industry discovery, we also need them to help audiences discover films. But this means the discovery/premiere aspect of festivals needs to be timed to the release of the film to the public. That probably means most festivals — all but the biggest industry ones — need to rethink their “discovery” programming and focus on bringing audiences to films that have distribution sorted out, and that are just about to launch. This probably means that festivals need to think differently about how and when they promote themselves and their films (a lot earlier for both). And we need to figure out how to push those audiences to films post-festival as well (via email lists with opt-ins, on social media, etc.)

We also need to discuss compensation. There was an argument — one that I believed in for a long time as a festival programmer — that discovery and promotion were enough. But in an online world, there needs to be compensation for filmmakers, even when your festival is struggling. Now is the time to make that argument with board-members, donors and sponsors.

But we also need to acknowledge that compensation will never be enough for films that are seeking distribution. This may necessitate creative partnerships (between festivals and distributors), and a renewed focus on other areas that help filmmakers. For example, there needs to be data transparency — to filmmakers, among festivals, to distributors, and in some cases, to the public. Filmmakers need to know how many people saw their film, how much of it they watched, and be able to use this data to build a case for their film with distributors, press and other audiences.

Filmmakers also want more opportunities to network with other filmmakers and industry representatives, even if this only takes place online. They also love the chance to win an award that might help bring them more attention, but they’re starting to miss the cash prizes that many festivals have cut due to austerity.

We need to have these conversations now, as the field develops solutions that are bound to become not just temporary band-aids, but long-term changes to the system. Festivals are understandably rushing to develop online systems that can help them survive the crisis. Filmmakers appreciate this need, and many of them owe their careers to scrappy festival directors who took a chance on their films. The two need to work together to develop systems that can allow both to not just survive, but thrive, going forward.

Source


wilder

  • Moderator
  • *****
    • Posts: 4256
Finally, Here Are Some Real VOD Box Office Numbers — and They Show Promise
IndieWire

Kudos to Kino Lorber streaming platform Kino Marquee, which released initial revenues for its first eight titles. "Bacurau" leads the pack.

Welcome to the new normal. While we currently have no Sunday box-office estimates, we have our first full-fledged VOD report courtesy of Kino Marquee. The numbers for the streaming arm of New York distributor Kino Lorber bear little resemblance to those of, say, Universal VOD, but it’s an eye-opening look at the potential — and the limits — of virtual cinema.

These early numbers suggest the combined virtual-theatrical returns could end up in the range of a full theatrical release. For now, they also suggest that for theaters there is no substitute for the physical customer.

“I think we have all learned over our joint foray into this new business that virtual ticket sales do not make up 100% of theatrical revenue lost by exhibitors and distributors,” said Wendy Lidell, Kino Lorber’s senior VP of theatrical/nontheatrical distribution and acquisitions, writing to the Art House Convergence Google group. “This is a different business. We are competing with lower cost online streaming options, but I believe we need to maintain the premium price of a premiere theatrical window, and we on the distribution side are endeavoring to promote films as such.”

Kino Lorber is known as a venerable distributor of high-quality titles, most of which premiered at festivals, and it has one of the most vital DVD/Blu-Ray libraries around. In March, it launched Kino Marquee, a VOD platform that also enables movie theaters to serve their audiences and generate revenue.

Unlike traditional theatrical releases, Kino Marquee allows it to offer far more films, and for much longer periods. The goal, Kino Lorber announced, was “to emulate the moviegoing experience as much as possible, enabling movie audiences to support their local theaters by paying to view films digitally.”

Kino Marquee currently features eight titles. Four came in partnership with other distributors: Good Deed’s Irish comedy “Extra Ordinary” and Zeitgeist’s documentaries “Beyond the Visible: Hilma at Klimt” and “The Woman Who Loved Giraffes,” and Ken Loach’s “Sorry We Missed You.” One is a re-release, “Thousand Pieces of Gold.” Also included is a collection of repertory titles from Hungarian director Istvan Szabo that include the recently restored “Mephisto.”

From March 19-April 30, some eight Kino Marquee titles grossed $316,000 via online release. Initial results show two standouts that represented more than half of that total. One is “Bacurau,” a 2019 Cannes award-winning Brazilian film, which grossed about $100,000. The other is “Extra Ordinary,” an Irish comedy that premiered at SXSW 2019 and stars Will Forte. It grossed about $79,000 in virtual release.

The eight titles received staggered releases across five weekends. Not every theater handled all Kino Marquee titles; out of the 233 that participated in “Bacurau,” 10 accounted for 40 percent of the film’s gross.

For theaters, some of these returns can be quite small. For “Bacurau,” 213 theaters shared about $60,000 in revenue, which is split 50/50 with Kino Lorber. Sources suggest some New York partners, led by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Film Forum, and BAM are standout, similar to what would happen in normal theatrical play.

Still, even with a return that’s almost certainly significantly less than what theatrical would provide, so are the expenses. And, it allows theaters to stay in touch with customers and keep their communities alive.

And, compared to other Kino Lorber releases, these top earners show some promise. In 2019, its top theatrical release by far was “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” with $521,000, and only a handful topped $100,000.

Kino Lorber thrives on the volume of its releases, its library (which includes many classics), and its access on niche outlets like Criterion and MUBI. This is just one sample look, and we’re glad for it; let’s hope others follow.

Results are listed by title, (theatrical and virtual release dates), virtual gross, and total gross, which includes theatrical. Titles listed in order of virtual gross.


Bacurau (3/6 theatrical, 3/19 virtual)

Virtual – $100,152 Total gross – $158,267


Extra Ordinary (3/6 theatrical, 4/3 virtual)

Virtual – $79,307 Total gross – $240,201


Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klimt (no theatrical, 4/17 virtual)

Virtual – $56,064 Total gross – $56,064


Sorry We Missed You (3/4 theatrical, 4/3 virtual)

Virtual – $35,160 Total gross – $63,933


The Woman Who Loved Giraffes (1/10 theatrical, 4/10 virtual)

Virtual – $17,628 Total gross – $131,486


Beanpole  (1/29 theatrical, 4/10 virtual)

Virtual – $17,304 Total gross – $214,562


Istvan Szabo Collection – Mephisto, Col Redl, and Confidence (1/10 theatrical, 4/10 virtual)

Virtual – $6,420 Total gross – $35,280


Thousand Pieces of Gold (pre-release previews, 4/24 virtual)

Virtual – $5,268 Total gross – $14,753


Source


Sleepless

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 2198
  • I told you I would eat you
James Mangold Says Movie Theaters Are Hurting Themselves with Awful Film Projection

The "Logan" and "Ford v Ferrari" filmmaker says theaters are creating their own damage in the fight against streaming.

Edward Norton made headlines in October 2019 after sharing his belief that movie theaters were doing more damage to the theatrical experience than streaming giants such as Netflix. The bulk of Norton’s argument centered on movie theaters offering poor theatrical projection and thus not offering a better alternative to streaming and television, which is an opinion “Logan” and “Ford v Ferrari” director James Mangold doubled down on in a recent interview with Discussing Film. For Mangold, poor projection and lousy theater conditions aren’t doing theaters any favors in the fight against streaming.

“The reality of theater projection has gotten so tragically bad in so many cases,” Mangold said. “The fight to put your movie in a theater that stinks and someone’s eating an enchilada next to you — half the screen is out of focus or too dim. Theatrical has its own problems, which is that if it doesn’t make itself a sterling presentation that you cannot approximate at the home then theatrical kills itself without any other delivery method even competing with it. When I talk to theater owners or theater chains, that’s the big thing.”

Mangold recounted how a “Ford v Ferrari” screening earlier this year in New York City was ruined because of poor projection. The filmmaker was in attendance to participate in a Q&A and watched as “Ford v Ferrari” was screened through a projector that still had a 3D lens attached to it. Mangold noted it was an Academy screening of the film at a major theater in New York City. Two “Ford v Ferrari” screenings that evening were presented through 3D lenses even though the film is not a 3D movie. Mangold said this is a frequent issue at theaters and the reason for it is either “financial or physical laziness to send someone up and put a different lens in the projection system.”

“My point really is just that theatrical is a wasteland right now of a lot of shitty delivery of movies to audiences who are paying a premium to see them on a big screen,” Mangold said. “That’s something that needs to be solved in the future.”

When asked whether or not filmmakers should therefore have more involvement with the exhibition process, Mangold answered, “Well, of course, but do I believe they do? No, because the theaters are, like all capitalist endeavors, in a never-ending cycle of running from bankruptcy. They pay people as little as they can. They hire as few people as they can. They serve snacks that cost them 45 cents to manufacture at prices 22 times the cost of creating. They put you in a theater that is as possible as it can be at the minimum amount of expense.”

Mangold added, “Once in a while, the main theater chain will renovate and put new equipment in. But if the people running the equipment aren’t great, trained, or even give a shit because they’re paid so badly then the result is always going to be questionable. It’s just that simple. It really doesn’t matter what filmmakers say when theater owners are worried about whether they can pay rent next month. More than whether some spoiled filmmaker thinks that their sound is too low or the image brightness isn’t high enough. That’s not where their heads are.”
He held on. The dolphin and all the rest of its pod turned and swam out to sea, and still he held on. This is it, he thought. Then he remembered that they were air-breathers too. It was going to be all right.


wilberfan

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 1581
Agreed.  Although I wasn't aware that enchilladas were contributing to the challenges of properly projecting a movie.  (Unless it was the projectionist eating it, I suppose.)
"Trying to fit in since 2017."


wilder

  • Moderator
  • *****
    • Posts: 4256
Journalism, Documentary, Branded: The Ethics of the NYT and Father, Soldier, Son
July 23, 2020
by Brian Newman


This past week saw the launch of the NYT’s new documentary, Father, Soldier, Son on Netflix. It is a feature documentary, but the NYT is also supporting it with advertising; an introductory article about the history of the piece; a robust interactive feature story, that is also duplicated in print via a 72 page special  section of the newspaper that was delivered over the weekend; plugs in their What’s On TV section; through a movie review by critic Jessica Kiang (with an embedded Netflix trailer/ad, and direct links to tickets for which they get an affiliate fee, which they do with most films); a Times Insider piece, which in print sits just inside the front page, and which also promotes the genesis of the project; and of course through their social media pages, including Facebook during the #stophateforprofit campaign, also with Netflix Originals logos. In other words, the full court press.

As I posted on LinkedIn last week, let's be clear - This is Branded Content. The Brand is the NYT and they are promoting their brand via their journalism and their film criticism and every other resource simultaneously. It is also simultaneously brilliant, well-executed branded entertainment that others should emulate, an ethical conundrum to consider for the future of journalism, and possible the most meta-media occurrence of late (which Noah Cowan pointed out on my post). So what are we to make of the NYT as publisher and brand?
 
Let’s step back for a second and look at the bigger picture. The NYT is not new to making documentaries. They launched Op-Docs in 2011, and that project has gone on to great acclaim, including two Oscar nominations. I’ve always thought the Op-Docs were misconceived, and should actually be opinion pieces, as the name suggests, which would be more like the Robert Reich Inequality Media videos, or Kogonada’s video essays, but they’ve always been decidedly journalistic (and artistic) in their approach, and to my knowledge, have never featured brands or been promoted I nearly the same fashion as this new initiative. 
 
The NYT also launched the T Brand Studio in 2014 to produce actual branded content. Like many other publishers, this has become an important revenue stream, as many brands moved into such content and traditional advertising cratered. The Times has done an ok job of keeping the branded content efforts distinct from their journalism, but I’ve always loved showing these images to my brand content classes, showing how the NYT has slowly minimized the distinctive branding around their paid content, blurring the lines quite a bit. Note how the branding is reduced between the time of the Dell "sponsored post" and the one from Netflix, which many people tell me they never knew was an ad at all (click on the image to enlarge):
 
Back in 2016, I consulted with the NYT on the release of their actual first feature doc, Ladies First, about the first female candidates and first women’s vote in Saudi Arabia. We premiered at the Margaret Meade Film Festival in October (sold out), before a quick launch on their website, because they wanted the film to launch in the lead up to Hillary’s win (oops!) in November. I distinctly remember speaking with CEO Mark Thompson about his ambitious plans for expansion into film (including Netflix), as we stood underneath the gigantic dinosaur skeletons from the Museum at the reception. The irony of our setting was not lost on Mark… which may be part of why I didn’t do much more work for them (why did we pick that room for a reception???). By the way, just yesterday the NYT announced that Meredith Kopit Levien will take over from Mark and become the new CEO in September. She had been COO, but started as...Head of Advertising, and she's been in charge of many of the changes at the NYT as well.

But I was impressed – his vision for the Times as media powerhouse was ambitious. And it remains so. As Axios has reported, the NYT has at least three documentaries premiering this year (not counting Op-Docs); and another 10 scripted TV shows in development. They also mention The Jungle Prince of Delhi, a film based on the Pulitzer winning 1619 Project, and Father, Soldier, Son. But the Times also premiered two docs at Sundance  - Some Kind of Heaven, and Time. They’ve also got the NYT Presents (formerly The Weekly) on FX/Hulu. And they’ve retained Anonymous Content, who makes both amazing films and branded content/advertising, to represent its film and television rights. They’re in talks with numerous producers and other talent about multiple films, series and new media (I know many who’ve taken meetings there). The idea is pretty simple – the NYT has many great stories that would make great films (and shows), and why not take that great journalism and story-telling (not all of it is strictly journalism) to bigger audiences? 
 
Coming back to Father, Soldier, Son – this piece was developed over ten years, and started as a piece of journalism (and short film) about the impact of the war in Afghanistan on families. The piece was compelling, mainly because of the main subject Sgt. First Class Brian Eisch and his family, and one of the original two journalists soon coupled with a filmmaker to keep following Eisch’s story. I don’t know when it became clear that this would become a feature film, or a Netflix original. At some point, this great story and journalistic effort became not just a documentary, but the meta-mega-project as laid out in my opening paragraph. And that’s when it also became branded content. Because what the Times is doing is also promoting itself, as much as its journalism. It is signaling that it is not just a newspaper, but a movie studio, and a trusted source for interesting story-telling. As the Wikipedia definition of branded content (or branded entertainment) makes clear: “it is designed to build awareness for a brand by associating it with content that shares its values.
 
This is not a critique of the film. I have some issues with it, but it’s a tear-jerker and is getting good reviews. It’s a bit perplexing why the NYT would launch this major endeavor with such a white project, and one that is so uncritical of the politics of this US war. It does show a group of people – working-class soldiers – who the Times’s audience seldom gets to see (meaning its affluent audience is disconnected from those who actually serve, a big problem in the US), but let's also face it - wounded warrior stories are also the bread and butter of branded content - a feel good story. That said, it's a good effort, and their future projects seem to include a  mix of diverse stories and storytellers, so I'll give them a break here. The film is definitely more observational than most journalism, but I don’t want to go down the documentary vs. journalism rabbit-hole here. Let’s just concede that it is a head-spinning mix of journalism plus documentary plus branded content.

Is it ethical? Well, that line is blurry, too. Writing articles about your own journalism/documentary is both interesting news, and an advertisement for your own brand and product. They did have the sense to bring in an outside critic – I believe Jessica Kiang doesn’t usually write for the Times and is more affiliated with Variety – but they didn’t point this out, or bring attention to this decision, which was clearly made for ethical reasons. We could ask the Times’s own Public Editor, but… they eliminated that position in 2017, which is right around the time the Times started getting more ambitious in its efforts and started blurring these lines more and more. 
 
This blurry line is always a touchy topic at the Times, and in journalism at large. The NYT staff routinely get on stages and say they won't do branded content outside of the T Brand Studio, but it appears they will do it -  only for their brand. And they need to do it. Ad revenue is slumping to historic lows, and the NYT is increasingly relying on subscriptions and new revenue streams. As they make this transition, the publication needs to sell the value of its brand, on multiple other channels. This leads to more subscriptions, and it leads to more alternative revenue streams, to replace advertising. In fact, one could argue that these new revenue streams and business models are crucial to our maintaining a free press in America (and the world), because great journalism is not going to continue to be supported via advertising. 
 
So it’s a necessary good and a necessary evil. The NYT must go down this path, and other publishers need to do the same (and are), but it also brings up many ethical issues. Will the NYT start to privilege stories that can become content for Netflix? Will such efforts include hard-hitting and controversial news/stories (Time, the 1619 Project)? Or just surface-level portraits and character studies, as represented by both Father, Soldier, Son and Some Kind of Heaven? And when you write a news story about, say, Concordia being launched by Laurene Powell Jobs, do you not have an ethical obligation to make sure the reporter mentions that you are co-producing one of the films (Time) in that article? And that Jobs is a major investor in Anonymous Content, who also happens to represent the Times in their film endeavors? And when you write an article about coronavirus in the Villages of Florida, where the “white power” slogan was chanted and retweeted by the President, do you mention your film (Some Kind of Heaven) about said villages in your reporting? Or when that film comes out, do you re-contextualize its superficial look at “quirky” retirees in light of recent events? 

You can see that I have more questions than answers. You’d think someone at the Times would be assigned to think about these subjects, and write about them for the public, and that they’d be debated in places like the Columbia Journalism Review. But I can’t find any evidence of that (yet) happening.
 
I don’t have a final judgement on the Times here. Like I’ve said – it’s both brilliant and necessary, and gives a lot of models to copy and emulate for others. In fact, I'd be positively giddy if my clients could execute branded content across so many divisions as well as the Times has done. But it’s also a very meta- blurry mess of a move, and I think it would be best that we debate it before it becomes the norm.


jenkins

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4029
props to such a thorough post


WorldForgot

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 1018
  • 'change your hair, change your life'
    • portfolio ~
Great read. Fan of the hyperlinks, as well.  How much of this expansion was brought by the streaming binge's boost to documentary, I wonder?

Really engrossing, and as jenkins said thorough. Especially given Newman's past consulting with the publication on a short in the early phases of these moves. It definitely feels to me that there should be transparency to the Anonymous Content affiliation, and that the affiliation itself makes for an interesting subject that could be parsed out through guest columns.



wilder

  • Moderator
  • *****
    • Posts: 4256
To be clear, that originated from Bryan Newman's mailing list. I just reproduced it (links included).


wilder

  • Moderator
  • *****
    • Posts: 4256
Universal, AMC Theatres Forge Historic Deal Allowing Theatrical Releases to Debut on Premium VOD Early
Variety

Universal Pictures and AMC Theatres have put aside a bitter feud and signed a multi-year agreement that will allow the studio’s films to premiere on premium video on-demand within three weeks of their theatrical debuts.

The pact, sure to send shockwaves throughout the exhibition industry, has the potential to reshape the ways that movies are marketed and distributed. Rival studios are likely to begin pushing for exhibitors to grant them more flexibility when it comes to determining when and how their theatrical releases can make their way onto home entertainment platforms.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. However, in a statement, AMC’s CEO Adam Aron said the company will “share in these new revenue streams,” which means that it will get a cut of any money made on these digital rentals. Universal only has the ability to put its movies on premium on-demand, meaning the rentals that go for roughly $20 a pop. It cannot sell films or rent them for lower on-demand fees, in the $3 to $6 range, until three months after they debut in cinemas.

Even though Universal, under this new agreement, could theoretically debut the next “Jurassic World” or “Fast & Furious” installments on premium on-demand with 17 days of their debut, they will likely have longer exclusive runs in cinemas. Instead, the studio has the option to capitalize on its new freedom with mid-budget fare, comedies, and horror movies that might not have as robust runs in cinemas. But if smaller movies perform better than expected on the big screen, Universal can wait to put it digital rental services. On its upcoming slate, Universal also has “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” “Halloween Kills” with Jamie Lee Curtis and spy thriller “355” with Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz and Lupita Nyong’o.

The deal culminates a period of hostilities between the studio and the world’s largest theater chain, a chill in relations that began after AMC vowed to stop showing Universal’s movies after the studio decided last spring to unveil “Trolls World Tour” simultaneously on digital platforms and in the few theaters still open during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, both sides made nice, with Universal praising the viability of the big screen and AMC hailing the decision as a sign of its willingness to innovate.

“The theatrical experience continues to be the cornerstone of our business,” said Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. “The partnership we’ve forged with AMC is driven by our collective desire to ensure a thriving future for the film distribution ecosystem and to meet consumer demand with flexibility and optionality.”

For his part, Aron said, “Focusing on the long-term health of our industry, we would note that just as restaurants have thrived even though every home has a kitchen, AMC is highly confident that moviegoers will come to our theaters in huge numbers in a post-pandemic world. As people enjoy getting out of their homes, we believe the mystical escape and magical communal experience offered at our theaters will always be a compelling draw, including as it does our big screens, big sound and big seats not to mention the alluring aroma of our perfectly prepared popcorn.”

For years, Universal and other studios have pushed to shrink the window, industry parlance for the period of time between a film’s theatrical release and its debut on home entertainment. Traditionally, that frame of exclusivity has lasted for 90 days, which theater owners have maintained is critical to prevent customers from opting to skip cinemas and wait until a film is available in their homes. But studios have griped that those terms are onerous. They maintain that movies make most of their box office revenues in the first few weeks of release and waiting three months to debut films on-demand and across other platforms requires them to spend more money to advertise them and re-familiarize the public.

However, COVID-19 has altered the power dynamics in the relationship between studios and theaters. The bulk of cinemas in the United States remain closed due to the virus, and plans for a large-scale national reopening have been delayed again and again as cases surge in the South and and on the West Coast. Theaters don’t have the leverage they once did and are looking for ways to make money at a time when it’s not clear if customers feel safe going to cinemas.

At the same time, Universal has found continued financial success with its strategy to bypass theaters at a time when most of the country is still staying home. On-demand platforms have been booming during the pandemic, and Universal estimated that five million people rented “Trolls World Tour” in its first few weeks, generating roughly $100 million in sales. Empowered by those figures, it also debuted the Judd Apatow comedy “King of Staten Island” on premium on-demand this summer and has put movies such as “Emma,” a Jane Austen adaptation from its indie label Focus, on-demand after their releases were truncated by coronavirus closures.

In the past, Universal has perhaps been the most aggressive in pushing the limits of the theatrical release window and has tried to find ways to offer its movies to home entertainment consumers earlier, running afoul of the exhibition community with its aborted plans to offer the Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy comedy “Tower Heist” on-demand within weeks of its 2011 debut. In that case, Universal backed down after theaters threatened to stop showing its films.

In the coming weeks, the two companies will begin discussions surrounding international distribution agreements in the countries in Europe and the Middle East served by AMC.

As cinemas nationwide have struggled to reopen, AMC has been saddled with concerns of its liquidity. Even before the pandemic caused its locations to close for four months, the company was heavily indebted due to expensive refurbishments of its venues and deals to acquire rivals like Odeon and Carmike Cinemas. At one point, AMC looked on the verge of filing for bankruptcy, but it recently renegotiated terms of its debt that helped clean up its balance sheet.


WorldForgot

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 1018
  • 'change your hair, change your life'
    • portfolio ~
Tomorrow, Miranda July's trailer For Kajillionaire will drop on Dropbox, and its distribution will be handled by fans thru THEIR social media accounts.

Quote
Ok here’s a plan. Tomorrow we release the Kajillionaire trailer — and when I say we, I mean you and me.

Usually when a new movie comes out various VIPs and “tastemakers” are enlisted to announce and promote the movie, help make it special. (I’m always honored to when someone asks me to do this, especially if it’s a fellow woman director.)

But that was back when there was a usually. Guess who has made things special for me the last few months? The 189k people following this account. So I asked @focusfeatures if we could put the trailer in a dropbox and give it to you, my IG followers, to announce. They said, "Ummm, that's never been done before, we'll get back to you on that." Then, because they are cool and because frankly there is no rulebook for how to release a movie in a pandemic, they wrote back and said, “Let’s do it.”

So here’s how it’s going to go: at 8am PST tomorrow (11am EST / 4pm BST) a new link will appear in my bio. This will have a dropbox with the trailer in it and instructions on how to share it via IGTV. I know many of you are not in the US and that’s ok! This movie is coming out all over the world.

I'm promoting Kajillionaire this way because the normal systems are falling apart and it’s scary and hard to know where to put your faith. My instinct is to put it in lots and lots of smaller communities. So this is both a practical experiment and a symbolic gesture: I think this is where we are headed and what will sustain us. Each other, inventing. (And...you just try things as a form of living.)


wilder

  • Moderator
  • *****
    • Posts: 4256
Reply #145 on: August 08, 2020, 07:56:20 AM
Federal Judge Approves Termination Of Paramount Consent Decrees
August 7, 2020
Deadline

A federal judge has given the green light to Justice Department to terminate the 71-year-old consent decrees that have restricted major studio control over the exhibition process.

The lifting of the decrees will clear the way for studios to once again take significant ownership of theater chains, now in dire straits because of the pandemic. But more importantly for the industry, the elimination of the decrees means that studios and exhibitors will be allowed to engage in a host of business practices that have been prohibited since the late 1940s.

“Because changes in antitrust law and administration have diminished the importance of the Decrees’ restrictions, while still providing protections that will keep the probability of future violations low, the Court finds that termination of the Decrees is in the public interest,” wrote U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in a ruling issued on Friday. Read it here.

Under the plan to terminate the decrees, restrictions on block booking and circuit dealing will remain in place over a two-year sunset period. Block booking is the practice in which theaters have to take a package of movies in one license. Circuit dealing is the practice of demanding a single license that covers all theaters in a circuit.

The judge agreed with the Justice Department’s opinion that the decrees, which had a major role in forcing the end of the studio system in Hollywood’s golden age, were outdated in a time of technological change. Torres wrote that “seventy years of technological innovation, new competitors and business models, and shifting consumer demand have fundamentally changed the industry.”

She also noted that some of the studios who are bound by the decrees — RKO, MGM, Warner Bros., Paramount and Fox — no longer exist. Others, like The Walt Disney Co., didn’t have their own distribution operations in place at the time yet are now major players.

“None of the internet streaming companies—Netflix, Amazon, Apple and others—that produce and distribute movies are subject to the Decrees,” she wrote. “Thus, the remaining Defendants are subject to legal constraints that do not apply to their competitors.” She wrote that distributors who were not subject to the decrees have “shown no propensity to acquire major movie theater circuits or engage in the type of collusive practices the Decrees targeted.”

She also accepted the Justice Department’s argument that existing antitrust law will be effective deterrence against anticompetitive practices.

“Antitrust laws, and their faithful enforcement, weigh in favor of the Court’s finding that there is a low likelihood of a potential future violation absent the Decrees,” she wrote. In another example, Torres noted that merger laws have changed since the decrees were put in place. A 1976 statute requires parties to larger transactions to notify federal antitrust agencies so they can conduct a review before a deal closes.

The National Association of Theater Owners warned of ending the decrees and the impact it would have on consolidation of the exhibition business, while independent theaters argued that “nothing in existing antitrust law comes close to the elegance and power of the ‘theater-by-theater on the merits’ mandate that forms the heart of the Paramount Consent Decrees. Tens of thousands of Americans have enjoyed big-screen entertainment solely because of that mandate.”

The Directors Guild of America also opposed the DOJ’s move, arguing that the changes in the business required greater antitrust oversight.

A spokesperson for NATO said in a statement, “The Paramount Decrees were a remedy fashioned for extreme, anticompetitive behavior in the movie industry.  We agree with the Court that anticompetitive behavior remains anticompetitive under existing antitrust law. This decision simply shifts the mechanism for enforcement into regular, existing channels.”

Makan Delrahim, the chief of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, said in a statement, “As the Court points out, Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and It’s a Wonderful Life were the blockbusters when these Decrees were litigated; the movie industry and how Americans enjoy their movies have changed leaps and bounds in these intervening years.  Without these restraints on the market, American ingenuity is again free to experiment with different business models that can benefit consumers.”

The decrees were the end result of more than a decade of litigation after the Justice Department in 1938 first filed suit to challenge a studio monopoly on distribution and exhibition. A Supreme Court decision in favor of the government in 1948 led to the series of consent decrees, starting with Paramount in 1949. In addition to forcing studios to divest their theater chains, the decrees restricted a host of business practices. They included not just block booking and circuit dealing but setting minimum prices on theater tickets and granting exclusive film licenses over specific geographic areas.


jenkins

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4029
Reply #146 on: January 13, 2021, 12:06:16 AM
I genuinely haven’t looked into what it is but I noticed wilder mentioned tubi and I just heard about tubi because velvet vampire is there


wilder

  • Moderator
  • *****
    • Posts: 4256
Reply #147 on: January 13, 2021, 12:12:58 AM
Wow that looks great. Tubi. Who knew.



jenkins

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 4029
Reply #148 on: January 13, 2021, 12:19:30 AM
it was a marginal cult thing that was regionally bolstered by a 2020 new bev screening and now it’s supplanted Humanoids from the Deep as an example of an impressive genre movie from a female director


wilder

  • Moderator
  • *****
    • Posts: 4256
Reply #149 on: January 13, 2021, 07:01:05 PM
Awards-Screener Streaming Apps Considering Filmmaker Mode Support
The Hollywood Reporter

Filmmaker Mode, a setting on select TVs unveiled this week at CES, is aimed at preserving filmmakers' creative intent and is championed by leading filmmakers including Martin Scorsese.

Support for "Filmmaker Mode" — a setting on select TVs, including some featured this week during the virtual CES, aimed at preserving filmmakers' creative intent and championed by leading filmmakers including Martin Scorsese and Ryan Coogler — is being considered by apps that stream awards season screeners, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The goal is to assist voters watching movies at home to see them more closely as the filmmakers intended — a topic that has become more pressing as the pandemic has made such streaming options a necessity.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that informal discussions in the community got started, as Filmmaker Mode was developed by UHD Alliance — a coalition whose members include Hollywood studios as well as consumer electronics manufacturers — with the support of a long list of leading filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler, Patty Jenkins, Rian Johnson and JJ Abrams. The setting is also endorsed by the Directors Guild of America, the American Society of Cinematographers, the International Cinematographers Guild and Scorsese’s The Film Foundation.

Having heard from stakeholders, UHDA has started to consider the potential of using Filmmaker Mode with one undisclosed awards body and intends to reach out to others that may be interested, confirmed UHDA chair Michael Zink.

Filmmaker Mode is effectively a setting for consumer UHD TVs that disables post processing such as motion smoothing with an aim of giving consumers the opportunity to view content in the way that the filmmakers intended, including with the original aspect ratio, color and frame rates. It was first announced in 2019 for select 2020 TV models.

As to implementation with screeners, Zink suggests the easiest option may be to use it with a screening app that runs native on a Filmmaker Mode-supported TV. "The app would still need to call the API to trigger the switching [to the Mode]," he says, adding though that that would not be difficult to do.

If the screening app runs on a streaming media player such as AppleTV or Roku, then the media player would need to send the signal to the TV via HDMI, something that he says is "fairly straightforward ... but requires an additional entity to work with." He adds that in either case,  viewers also have the option to manually switch into Filmmaker Mode on supported TVs. In both cases, no special version of the movie would be required by the studio, he explains.

This week at CES, set makers including LG and Samsung unwrapped new Filmmaker Mode-supported TV models. LG showed new OLED, QNED Mini LED and NanoCell TVs, while Samsung featured new MicroLED (available in 110-inch, 99-inch and 88-inch models) and Neo QLED 8K and 4K lines. Additionally, Panasonic offers Filmmaker Mode support in its 2021 OLED models, including its newly announced flagship JZ2000.