Sunday, August 28, 2016

VR virtual reality cinema coming

IN THIS POST: short overview of some major technogical changes from digitization, then a focus (TBC and rolling updates) on VR

The film industry, at times reluctantly, has embraced a series of new technologies over recent decades, and the disruptive forces of digitization always seem poised to transform what at heart is quite a conservative industry, locked into franchises, the star system (changing?) and dominated by a mere 'big six' companies despite all the changes.
As with cassette tapes, you may have been born after the VHS tape disappeared from the high street

DVD meant they could:
  1. re-monetize back catalogue [long tail...]; just as the music industry got millions to replace their tapes/vinyl with (sonically inferior!) CDs so too did the movie industry make billions from VHS tapes being replaced
  2. the monetizing went further with editionalising: usually starting with a vanilla (movie only, perhaps a trailer added) edition, and leading over time to any combination of special, collector's, ultimate (etc) edition, not to mention director's cut, with commentaries and other extras to push sales, plus footage cut for cinema release headline, 2014.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Disney bank on franchise not A-List stars selling power meant unmasking
Sly to exploit his appeal, rather obviously
ruining the concept of the masked Dredd
I've picked up on this theme a few times, and there is strong evidence to argue the point either way, but there clearly is some doubt emerging over the continuing veracity and vigour of the star system; movie marketing being centred on attaching and selling star names.

The now well-established dominance of the franchise system appears to offer an alternative - though its only Disney currently that seems to be banking on this, its tentpole productions shaving many $10s of millions from CGI-heavy budgets by casting young unknowns in key roles - AND tying them into multi-film contracts that will keep them on relatively low salaries, avoiding awkward renegotiations where actors have a strong hand. Look at the budgets for the first two Scream movies, or BJDiary, for examples of how actors can up their demands to stay in a franchise.

The Disney examples (Star Wars: Force Awakens and much of the MarvelCU, excepting Robert Downey Jr) shouldn't, i think, be seen as typical enough to dismiss the rule #1 of the film business, and Disney currently are an exception amongst the Big Six in taking this approach.

Some franchises/IP have sufficient pre-existing audiences to cope without stars. Harry Potter and the Hunger Games are good examples, so too Twilight (as horrible as those movies are, at least to non-teen, non-girl viewers like myself!).
Shocker: critics and audience hate this movie.

Hollywood showed repeatedly before The Dark Knight kick-started the current MCU hegemony that shoving a big name into an iconic costume is often box office poison: Stallone's abysmal Judge Dredd is the classic example; whether his star brand or performance, or the script, were to blame, fans hated it and a general audience couldn't suspend belief for 90 minutes to really get into Rockie/Rambo as the meanest (robo)cop of them all.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Netflix and Amazon rival big six?

I'll return to this to gather points made across many posts on this theme:
The traditional big six (7 if you count Lionsgate) vertically integrated US conglomerates that dominate global cinema have cause to be seriously worried about Netflix and Amazon (with Apple, HBO and many more bubbling away in the wings too).

The online giants are at once customer/distributor for the big six, including VoD and rental alongside DVD and Blu-Ray sales, and rival, with their film production budget growing, and the release strategies they follow undermining the concept of the release window.
Netflix’s Reed Hastings: ‘We’ve got a long way to go to get to ubiquity’.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

CHINA bans Apple, Disney movie channels

While growth in the US is slowing, its international expansion is doing well, and though it may not have many subscribers in Syria or North Korea, it claims to be in all but one market globally. But that market is the world’s largest, China, where it has faced the same political barriers as other western media and technology companies.

“The Chinese government just closed down the Disney movie service. And they closed down Apple’s movie service. Those are two pretty sophisticated, relative to China, companies. It looks like the government just doesn’t want the foreign content distribution. Maybe someday in the future there’ll be an opportunity for us in China, it’s possible. We are continuing to work on it.”

Monday, August 01, 2016

NBC-Universal uses horizontal integration to keep Damon franchise airborne

Okay, so this might not be part of the OFFICIAL marketing blitz from NBC-U - but such trivial but viral UGC as this vine is worth many millions in advertising spend when considered as a whole, able to penetrate beyond core audiences targeted by the distributors. Here's where I found it:
An unofficial JB Facebook page with 48k likes.

The Vine was featured by a UK newspaper:

My main point here, however, is a good example of how the mega-conglomerates can flex their muscles to mutually benefit different wings: NBC-U both creating and benefitting from pre-release hype of the new Bourne movie by playing the Damon-starring previous films across EIGHT of its NBC-U channels. Research indicated that existing franchise fans were the key audience for the movie, so NBC-U sought to reinforce familiarity with the long-running franchise: