When's the 201 AS (UK) exam? Exams start on the 16th - the G322 exam: Thursday 19th May, 9am. Yr12 Study Leave begins after ? May (Yr13 from the ?)

Friday, June 16, 2017

CHINA How Hollywood targets Chinese cinema


The disc is dead: DVD, Blu-ray doomed?

Netflix and Amazon 'will overtake UK cinema box office spending by 2020' https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jun/14/netflix-amazon-uk-cinema-box-office-film-dvd-blu-ray-pwc?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Thursday, June 01, 2017

RottenTomatoes sank Baywatch and Pirates wail big 6


Tentpoles and TV blocking Indies' cinema chances

Hollywood and TV put the squeeze on UK's low-budget film-makers https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/may/31/hollywood-and-tv-put-the-squeeze-on-uks-low-budget-film-makers?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Saturday, May 20, 2017

DIGITISATION 4K restorations for re-releases

The music industry is dominated by the old, with back catalogue sales underpinning revenues, though with a similar tentpole strategy in place for a handful of global stars, as Elberse details in her book Blockbusters, analysing the distribution muscle thrown behind Lady Gaga, Jay-Z and other titan acts.

David Bowie has dominated vinyl sales this year, and accounts for a good proportion of other revenues too - the music industry is fuelled by monetising nostalgia.

The Secret Cinema organisation in Britain, putting on screenings of past hits in locations with a thematic link to that film, have squeezed millions in extra box office from many back catalogue flicks, while a black and white Mad Max Fury Road release, or Lord of the Rings re-read with a few extra minutes of tedium added, or just re-release to pop a multi-billion barrier (Avatar) ... the re-release has a place in the film industry's playbook.

There's always the film club and arthouse circuit, with CinemaTheque in Luxembourg an example, Woody Allen re-runs rarely being off the agenda in a typical month, or the summer outdoor screenings of everything from The Force Awakens to Rebel Without a Cause (picks for the 2016 Luxembourg season, the free event paid for through Orange sponsorship).

Retrofitting 3D is a long established practice, a software process of making a film not shot in 3D into this format at a cost of around $10m. Restoration has been a considerable element of arthouse and film festival fare - I've enjoyed watching a newly restored cut of a 50s Poe adaptation at the Bradford National Media Museum (1 strand of the BFI's work), and a new extended cut of Metropolis, weaving in newly discovered and repaired footage, at the Ilkley Film Festival.

The 4K restorations that Maurice, a Merchant and Ivory drama about a gay male love affair starring a young Hugh Grant, is an early example of could become a significant element of the multiplex mix, not just the arthouse circuit, a useful strand of counter-programming or even a means of building hype for a new franchise release by a limited release of an older, pre-reboot, franchise entry (picking up lots of cheap publicity along the way).

Both the 3D retrofits and 4K restorations are notable examples of the impact of digitisation.

Maurice at 30: the gay period drama the world wasn't ready for https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/may/19/maurice-film-period-drama-merchant-ivory?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ghost Stories

Claire Jones (Sightseers [+]), and Robin Gutch ('71 [+]) are producing for the UK’s Warp Films with the backing of the UK’s Catalyst Global Media and Screen YorkshireAltitude Film Sales is handling international sales and is currently representing the film at the American Film MarketDyson and Nyman said of the project, “Over half a million people have seen the play and now we are beyond excited to be bringing the film version of Ghost Stories to life." [CinEuropa.org article Nov 2016]
  • Warp announced a new film in Feb 2016, already picked up by 'big 7' Lionsgate for UK distribution, with Altitude handling international sales
  • Pre-selling rights at the pre-production stage is common for Indies (legendary social realist auteurs Ken Loach + Mike Leigh have done this throughout their careers). German rights were also pre-sold to Tele München/Concorde after a pitch at the Berlin European Film Market in feb 2016
  • This is an adaptation of an internationally successful play, bringing some comparisons with Woman in Black (but note the IP is limited compared to Les Mis)
  • Warp's reputation for allowing creatives to retain control, not the accountants, saw Nyman reject interest from Hollywood studios (who immediately suggested star-based changes!)
  • Martin Freeman's casting led most reports; star of the $3bn Hobbit franchise this suggests a more ambitious/commercial approach from Warp ...
  • ...BUT he's no A-lister (the IP and CGI sold the Hobbit, not a UK TV star!), and its no coincidence that as of May 2017 the UK remains the only territory with a distributor
  • Warp's online efforts at building interest and an audience through the pre-/production/post- stages has been typically lax ...
  • ... BUT co-director/writer Andy Nyman has exemplified the ability of cast and crew to use social media to promote a production (eg the 5 crew badges Twitter draw)
  • ... AND Altitude have been very active
  • Lionsgate UK, however, have yet to properly launch; their website contains only a coming soon message!

Okay, so its not the 80,000 packed into the Dallas Cowboys football stadium just to see a teaser trailer (1 strand of the epic Avatar campaign, arranged through ComicCon, the world's leading fan forum for such announcements), but Ghost Stories is following a smart path of pre-/production promotion, launching a 'concept teaser trailer' at FrightFest:
Horror blog FlickeringMyth reports the announcement, complete with 'concept teaser trailer'

ScreenDaily (US) announce the production, Feb 2016
So much for the auteur theory! Empire (UK) also led on Freeman's involvement

Casting Martin Freeman seems a real coup for Warp - after all, he was the lead in the tentpole Hobbit franchise (combined budgets $675m, box office $2.9bn). However, IP was the key marketing factor there, and he cannot be considered an A-List star any more than Lord of the Rings star Andy Serkis can 'open a film' by himself. Freeman's presence does help with marketing though, and gaining distribution, but the lack of progress there is significant. Hollywood conglomerate Lionsgate picking the film up for distribution is a coup, as one of what many now argue should be called the big seven to reflect their considerable global success in recent years (expanding the traditional big six of Disney, Warner Bros, Fox, Universal, Sony, Paramount).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Is film piracy sunk?

Message to Pirates of the Caribbean hackers – piracy no longer pays https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/shortcuts/2017/may/17/message-to-pirates-of-the-caribbean-hackers-piracy-no-longer-pays?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Why films fail: Arthur legendary flop

Epic fail: why has King Arthur flopped so badly? https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/may/16/epic-fail-why-has-king-arthur-flopped-so-badly?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Cannes adds TV but bans Netflix over release window

As Cannes turns 70, must cinema adapt to survive in new digital era? https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/may/13/cannes-film-festival-takes-on-tv-digital-upstarts-netflix?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Saturday, May 13, 2017

CONVERGENCE Terminator remade inside GTAV



Saturday, April 08, 2017

Blockbuster model threatened as release window slashed to 3 weeks?

Blockbusters assemble: can the mega movie survive the digital era? https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/apr/07/blockbusters-assemble-can-the-mega-movie-survive-the-digital-era?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Thursday, March 09, 2017

CINEMA gimmicks including playpens

A theater chain wants to add jungle gyms to movie screens. It's a bad idea https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2017/mar/08/movie-theater-play-area-jungle-gym-cinepolis-junior?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Monday, March 06, 2017

REPRESENTATION Emma Watson post-feminist pose?

Emma Watson 'stunned' by criticism that Vanity Fair cover is not feminist https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/mar/05/emma-watson-vanity-fair-cover-feminism?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Thursday, February 16, 2017

CONVERGENCE Love Actually mini-sequel for TV

What joy - a sequel to the wonderful Love Actually, the profound Richard Curtis classic that puts would-be auteurs like Welles, Hitchcock, Scorsese et al to shame.

Tragically, there will be only ten minutes of this cinematic feast, delivered through TV, as part of the Comic Relief telethon that Curtis helped create. One can only hope for a fourth Bridget Jones movie to ease the pain.

Thanks to Richard for alerting me to this televisual splendour, a nice example of convergence, with the TV/film divide fading - About a Boy being another Working Title example.

LA itself has become a meme since its release; as this article notes, comparisons have been made between the Grant character and Canadian PM Trudeau this week.
A notoriously polarising film, Love Actually’s cultural currency has grown in the 14 years since it was released. The film has been repeatedly unpicked, spoofed and deconstructed; four foreign language films – in Japanese, Hindi, Polish and Dutch – have also been inspired by the movie.
The showdown between Hugh Grant’s upstanding UK prime minister and the boorish, lecherous US president – reportedly based on a Bill Clinton/George W Bush hybrid – has been a touchstone of political discourse ever since. Even this week, Canadian premier Justin Trudeau found himself compared to Grant, following his meeting with US President Donald Trump. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

LIONSGATE thrive without tentpoles

An overview of Lionsgate's evolving strategy, although I don't share the author's confidence that a reversion to lower budget (current hit and Oscar favourite La La Land cost $30m), arthouse Oscar bait is an intentional shift, rather the ending of two huge YA franchises based on book series that came to firm endings.

Their 2017 slate includes a new book adaptation, My Little Pony and Power Rangers, not to mention a Saw reboot, so they're clearly not done with what Elberse describes as the blockbuster strategy yet, let alone the all-prevailing franchise model.

La La Land's success heralds return to Lionsgate's small-scale roots https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/feb/11/la-la-land-lionsgate-film-studio?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Saturday, February 04, 2017

INDUSTRY TV soars while film DVD slumps

Falling DVD sales put boot into profits at Sony Pictures https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/feb/03/sony-pictures-dvd-sales-profits-streaming?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

BBFC Trainspotting joins small band of 18-rated hits

And it’s rare that an 18-certificate film opens north of £5m. Ignoring previews, only three such titles have done so: Fifty Shades of GreyBrunoand Hannibal.

The success is also noteworthy for the 2 decade gap between franchise entries, something only Star Wars (19 years after Jedi) can claim.

Return trip: T2 Trainspotting shoots up UK box-office chart https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/31/uk-box-office-film-t2-trainspotting-sing-la-la-land-split-hacksaw-ridge?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Friday, January 27, 2017

INDUSTRY Tax break makes UK major production base

Star Wars and Trainspotting sequels help UK film production break records https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/26/star-wars-trainspotting-t2-uk-film-production-rise-bfi?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Sunday, January 22, 2017

INDIE ARTHOUSE CINEMAS flourish with weddings and events

New figures show a big increase in the UK market share of Indie cinemas, up from 17% in 2015 to 23% in 2016, and nearer 34% if Indies bought up by chains like Picturehouse are added.

I've blogged on the rise of boutique, small-scale arthouse cinemas such as that launched last year in Ilkley (and the longer established CinemaTheque here, in a country where the Utopolis chain dominates), but also the rise and rise of event cinema, from live screencasts of opera, theatre and orchestra to director Q+A's.

Now we're seeing weddings in cinemas, films paused so the audience can taste the same wine or chocolates as the characters on screen ... a lot of innovation in the fightback against home cinema and the emergent streaming giants.

Wine, weddings and ballet: new role for indie cinemas at heart of high streets https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/22/indie-cinema-at-high-streets-heart-brighton-blackpool?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Thursday, January 19, 2017

SAUDIA ARABIA Sod that, cinema banned!

Saudi Arabia to continue ban on 'immoral, atheistic' cinema https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/18/saudi-arabia-ban-immoral-public-cinema-grand-mufti-sheikh-abdulaziz?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

FRANCE CHINA $180m Eng lang tentpole Valerian

A Chinese production company invested $50m of the staggering $180m budget - standard fare for Big Six Hollywood fantasy, sci-fi and action franchise flicks but more than twice the previous highest budget French production, the $78m Asterix.

To put that into perspective, the UK's consistently most successful production company, WT, have never since exceeded the $100m of war action movie Green Zone, a Matt Damon vehicle.

Having watched the trailer, it strikes me as Blade Runner meets Avatar - though director Lux Besson's 20 year-old Hollywood sci-fi hit The Fifth Dimension is another apt comparison. Where that movie starred Bruce Willis in his global box office pomp, it's much less certain that lead Cara Delevingne can carry the marketing. Her presence didn't help Suicide Squad's relatively disappointing box office.


Sci-fi and superheroes in 2017: can Luke Skywalker save us from Hollywood's bleak year ahead?


Friday, December 09, 2016

REPRESENTATION only posh Brits get leads in Hollywood

For the star to truly shine, the character actor must be standing somewhere nearby. Occasionally the two categories overlap, though it almost never happens with British actors in Hollywood; only the silver-spooners, such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Redmayne and Hugh Grant, graduate to above-the-title billing. The likes of Tom Hardy, Fassbender and Daniel Day-Lewis (memorably described by the comedian Adam Riches as “the greatest actor never to have appeared in anyone’s favourite films”) are character actors who just happen to have achieved stardom.

Michael Sheen, Passengers and why Hollywood's hottest leads need a quirky Brit https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/dec/07/passengers-michael-sheen-chris-pratt-hollywood-british-actors?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Sunday, December 04, 2016

VOD + BOUTIQUE CINEMA history + UK services overview

An excellent overview of the radical shifts in the cinema industry, responding to digital disruption by diversifying, not least going upmarket...
On a recent visit to a Curzon cinema in London I sat (lay, really) on a steeply pitched chair that had been upholstered in red fur. Outside in the lobby, the snacks for sale included prosecco-laced ice lollies and popcorn flavoured with specific French cheeses; I chose a wedge of iced sponge cake that was on display under a cloche. Inside the screening room, I wasn’t the only one clacking tableware while we waited for the feature – Woody Allen’s Café Society – to start.
A pre-film advert played, promoting the Curzon’s app. Audiences were advised that, next time, they could simply stay at home and use their phones to stream selected newly released films direct to their TVs. Café Society had a 1930s setting, a jazz soundtrack, Allen’s usual Windsor font in the credits. But the preamble to it had been powerfully, pungently modern, illustrating the lavishing-up of many cinemas and the spread of home-streaming services, developments that have come to characterise movie‑watching in 2016.
As Allen’s film played I lay on the near-horizontal, watching it down my nose and trying not to fall asleep during the slow bits like an old man in front of the snooker – asking myself how we’d got here. To cinema seats resembling pool loungers. To phones that with the right software could call up hundreds of thousands of feature films. Just under a third of the UK population now streams films and this year sales of digitally streamed or downloaded movies outstripped sales of DVDs for the first time.

Full stream ahead? The brave new world of cinemagoing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

BFI looks beyond cinema

As well as announcing a large scale digitisation of British TV, the BFI also announced a change in its funding programme to include films not intended for theatrical release.
“The BFI’s job is to champion the future success of film in the UK and this plan is designed to do that – we want to back the brave, the new and the experimental.
“Our aim is to find, educate and support the very best talent, give them the skills, tools and creative freedom needed to tell their stories, and make sure as many people as possible can enjoy and be inspired by those stories on the big screen, the small screen and even the screen in their pocket.”

Friday, November 25, 2016

DISTRIBUTION STREAMING Shudder shakes up horror subscription


A US genre specialist subscription service recently also launched in the UK

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

BJBABY too British? Japan, Greece, US etc considered

A nuanced view of WT's strategy.
Starting with Saunders' excellent Telegraph article I'll look at arguments that BJB is too British for the US market; non-English markets experience a radically different Bridget through culturally-weighted translations (eg Spain) - and even censorship (Japan). Japanese subtitles reposition Jones as closer to a traditional stereotypical female through certain formalities of grammar. Greeks were among many non-UK/US (Australia/NZ/Canada?) audiences to be left none the wiser when Aretha's Respect kicked in at a key point in the original movie - iconic tunes that 'everyone knows' don't necessarily cross Western, English-language borders.
Saunders cites a number of academic studies in doing so - this is a much-studied franchise and cultural phenomenon, so challenge yourself and look out for more in-depth reading!
One such example that I will re-read in due course, not least as it presents intriguing arguments on the tensions between WT and Richard Curtis' script between appealing to the domestic and US markets: Jones is at once Americanised and critical of American culture ... is the book Falling in Love Again: Romantic Comedy in Contemporary Cinema (Abbott, Jermyn eds. (2008)). 
I'll get to view the film in due course - but your own (or second hand) observations from this would be welcomed (post a comment).

Headline for the Saunders piece.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

FRANCE 36 month law flix off streaming giant

Good example of the tensions between globalisation (read: American hegemony) and local regulation designed to protect local production and its cultural voice.

Usually this means referencing the big six, but in this case it's Netflix, an American global giant about as welcome in France as Mickey D's burger emporiums (not even Samuel L Jackson's le big mac skatz could make that culinary imperialism cool).

They and Amazon, with Apple hovering as well, perhaps should be considered part of a big six+2.

Like China and many other major movie markets (the gung ho free market UK an exception since laissez-faire zealot Thatcher swept away protectionist regulations in the early 80s, leading to a summer 2016 in which all of the top 20 earners were Hollywood output), France imposes several restrictions on foreign movies to protect domestic producers and culture against American dominance.

I wasn't aware of the 36 month after release wait time there, presumably designed as a block on Amazon prime, Netflix, Google Movies, Apple and other American giants establishing a stranglehold on the market - chiefly through imported American movies, getting round cinema restrictions.

With Indies like Warp occasionally turning to self-distribution (All Tomorrow's Parties, etc), that policy perhaps should be tweaked to be less cinema-centric and give Indies a rare advantage, but does show that the big six+2 are not quite the Borg... resistance is not (yet) futile...

French resistance: can Netflix win over its harshest critics? https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/nov/19/divines-netflix-france?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Bridget Jones Baby marketing

I'll add to this - your own photos etc would be very welcome

This post builds on an earlier post, which itself is long and detailed, looking at the international nature of the campaign and the trailers especially, but also looking back at the scale of this franchise - so lets start there.

The latest movie is at $180m worldwide - a good return, but well down on past entries. There should be a 4th based on those numbers. See my post on the Gant Rule (with BJB as an exception) for more details - such as this, the only territories with 8-figure returns:
  • Australia $13m
  • France $14m
  • US $24m
  • UK $60m

The basic: Premieres
This generates TV news and wider media stories (eg Mirror):

Thursday, November 10, 2016

BOX OFFICE: Gant Rule in 2016

A definition of 'the Gant Rule'; testing it out with the summer 2016 UK/US box office; why is this so profoundly significant for understanding the British cinema market; how satirical cartoon Curtisland illustrates this; why does it not always work (including Bridget Jones example).

I was surprised just now to find that 'the Gant Rule' doesn't bring up many relevant hits ... until the phrase 'box office' is added to the search.

Lets have a fresh look at this...

Box office analyst Charles Gant (who has a weekly Guardian column, but whose writing appears in many other publications worldwide) has long argued that a typical transatlantic hit (a success in both the UK and US markets) will make ten times as much in the US ($ figures) as in the UK (unadjusted £ figures).

In short, for a UK/US hit, UK £box office x10 roughly = US $box office
*it is highly advisable to put such terms in '' to help denote them as technical terms; the media world is so vast and complex, no single examiner will be familiar with every conceivable term

Is he right? Usually, yes!

I have blogged on this a few times...
Use the Gant Rule tag to find previous posts - or simply make your own comparisons with films' UK/US box office!

 Captain America: Civil War + The Secret Life of Pets examples
Using figures from his ScreenDaily column, Gant looked at the 2016 summer box office on both sides of the Atlantic. Jump straight to the number one hit and you'll see a prime example of the Gant Rule in effect: Captain America: Civil War took £37m in the UK and $407m in the US. That's precisely x11 the UK figure - pretty accurate forecasting there!

Bridget Jones's Baby boom? Smart marketing, modernised values

DIRECTOR: Sharon Maguire
BOX OFFICE: UK £m, US $m, World $m
PRODUCTION COMPANY CREDITS: Miramax*, StudioCanalUniversal PicturesWorking Title Films *presumably they retain rights as original film co-producer with WT
DISTRIBUTION: Universal, UIP x countries 
AGE RATINGS: [likely] BBFC 15, MPAA R, Lux EA.

Much more to come on one of the most significant Working Title productions for years. They have multiple highly successful franchises (Nanny McPhee, Bean, Johnny English...) but none are as iconic and central to their identity as BJD, the franchise based on Helen Fielding's hit novel.

Working Title page.

I've blogged on this for a few years now (here; here on novel + musical; here in a wider post on WT franchising): BJD3 was announced in July 2009! It was then formally greenlit by Universal + WT in October 2011 ... but would take another 4 years for shooting to commence, with Hugh Grant dropping out and a change of director (Paul Zeig was originally attached, but with the film seeming dead in the water Sharon Maguire wasn't attached until negotiations with the principal cast resumed again in June 2015). [details from Wiki]

Sharon Maguire was overlooked for the first sequel...
Sharon Maguire, who directed the original Bridget Jones’s Diary in 2001, returned to direct the feature film from a script she co-wrote with David Nicholls (One Day) [source]

BoxOfficeMojo BJD franchise page.