Frozen Wages – Disney’s Executives Take Salary Cut During These Difficult Times

Frozen II ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Maybe these big companies are learning from the economic meltdown of 2008 and wanting to show us that the generously compensated executives are also feeling the pain of the employees far down the company chain. Most of these lower level employees have had their incomes reduced to $0, no thanks to layoffs.

It is probably not how the company’s leadership had planned to mark the one year anniversary of the $71.3 billion Disney-Fox merger, which was 10 days ago, on March 20. With Hollywood production shut down, theatrical releases on hold and amusement parks closed, Disney’s incoming CEO Bob Chapek this morning announced a salary reduction of 30% for EVPs and above, 25% for SVPs and 20% for VPs “until we foresee a substantive recovery in our business.” Chapek himself is taking a 50% pay cut, while executive chairman Bob Iger will forego 100% of his salary. All reductions are said to apply to base pay.

Disney’s Executive Pay Cut Threatens To Deepen the Divide Between The Two Sides Of The Merged Company

This is good in theory, but not as applicable in reality. Salary is somewhat irrelevant for executives who make their lion’s share of wealth through stock options. Yes, they can lose millions of dollars on paper with stock price fluctuations, but they also can gain them back as the market juggernaut regains. Take a look at the Dow Jones historic trend over the last 40 years.

It goes up, dips a bit, goes up, dips, but overall it’s ascending over time. The precipice at the far right is where we are right now: economic uncertainty. Many businesses are closed, millions out of work, shelter in place everywhere, everybody knows it seems like we’re all doomed. This illustrates market reaction to falling off the mountain peak. You can see a similar dip near 2009 when Wall Street needed a bailout. The market might just tank to those levels or lower again. Time will tell.

I’m not trying to be snarky, but still stinging from articles that came out after the Wall Street bailout of the financial markets about executives getting golden parachutes and making double digit millions in severance packages, while their companies were saved from financial ruin by taxpayers. Why were we ever bailing out these rich executives? There needs to be provisions in place for companies which cannot award high level executives from cashing out on the taxpayer’s pocketbook.

Am hopeful, but wary, that a lesson has been learned and government bailouts when we’re essentially broke as a country (see: $2 trillion deal stimulus package receives bipartisan support, movie theater chains likely included) will not lead to more of these stories in the coming days, weeks or months when life starts returning to normal.

FIRST LOOK: Sergio (2020) – Netflix

With a world premiere at Sundance on January 28, 2020 an 84% Rotten Tomatoes score on 95 reviews, comes a movie directed by Greg Barker (Manhunt, Homegrown: The Counter-Terror Dilemma) and screenplay by Craig Borten.

If you are saying, “who?” that’s OK, I’m with you.

Charismatic and complex, Sergio Vieira de Mello (Wagner Moura) has spent the majority of his storied career as a top UN diplomat working in the world’s most unstable regions, deftly navigating deals with presidents, revolutionaries, and war criminals for the sake of protecting the lives of ordinary people. But just as he readies himself for a simpler life with the woman he loves (Ana de Armas), Sergio takes one last assignment — in Baghdad, newly plunged into chaos following the US invasion. The assignment is meant to be brief, until a bomb blast causes the walls of the UN headquarters to come literally crashing down upon him, setting into motion a gripping life-or-death struggle.

Everything You Need to Know About Sergio Movie (2020)

The trailer:

Sergio official trailer

Sergio will be available for streaming on Netflix on Friday April 17, 2020.

Disney Pleases Movie Fans, Flexes in Front of National Theater Owners (NATO): Artemis Fowl will be Summer Disney+ Release

The House of Mouse just posed in front of the mirror, pecs, abs, muscles bulging.

Perhaps it’s another month — minimum — of stay at home orders and theaters being closed or it’s the big D further promoting their hit Disney+ service, or maybe they just want to generate some (any!) good press at a time where most press is gloom and doom.

“With audiences largely unable to attend theatres in the current environment, we are thrilled to offer the premiere of ‘Artemis Fowl’ on Disney+,” said Ricky Strauss, President, Content & Marketing, Disney+. “Director Kenneth Branagh and his spectacular cast take viewers right into the vibrant, fantasy world of the beloved book, which fans have been waiting to see brought to life onscreen for years. It’s great family entertainment that is the perfect addition to Disney+’s summer lineup.”

Disney Pulls ‘Artemis Fowl’ From Theaters, Will Debut on Disney+

It will be interesting to see if the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) snipes at them — the 800 pound gorilla — like they did with Universal for daring to release a new wide release movie outside of theaters.

It should be noted that Disney has pushed most of their titles back, in anticipation and support of theaters opening again … someday. What that landscape will look like whenever that is will largely remain a question of how long they’ve been closed. AMC, the biggest theater chain on the block, seems financially to be the most vulnerable, but time will tell.

My guess is NATO is busy crapping in their collective pants, hoping and praying that more studios don’t start cutting deals to release some of their films on streaming. It’s a fine line to walk: piss off the “exhibitors” (talk about a snobby title, they don’t even consider themselves “movie theaters”) or give people stuck at home some way to see new movies they were hoping to see.

If this pandemic goes into summer, the movie theater busiest months, there could be more titles making the jump. The studios realize there is a captive audience at home right now, eager to watch new movies. The smartest thing they can do is to filter at least some of their content into that pipeline.

If Trolls World Tour opening Friday April 10 — on VOD — does well (buy your virtual tickets, this will matter), mark my words: more new movie titles will be coming.

Not saying it should be the large budget tentpole movies, but the medium and lower budget movies should definitely consider going to the highest streaming bidder and/or VOD with some kind of lucrative split arrangement.

For those reading that think I’m sticking it to the movie theaters when they’re down, nothing could be further from the truth (see: One Big Reason Why Movie Theaters Will Be OK Compared To Streaming). I just want to see some new movies at home during the time so many people are home.

Why can’t we have both? New movies over the next 90 days and new movies when the theaters reopen?

TV SERIES Review: Harley Quinn S2E1 – New Gotham ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 2
DC Universe exclusive
April 3, 2020

Episode 1 – “New Gotham”

Following the events of season 1 closer, Gotham City is wrecked, the President has now declared Gotham as “not part of the United States.”

It’s total anarchy and Harley is loving it. She is riding around in an anti-Joker sled with her two hyenas pulling it.

The problem is nobody is in charge, so everybody is doing what they want. Harley tries to empower “the goons” to not be working for the villains, but “be” the villain (IE. Don’t be for Penguin, be Penguin). This makes it so instead of having a few villains, there are a 1000 villains.

Psy’s most comedic line in the episode: “It’s like ‘Nam after the U.S left”

So, a new supervillain group forms and they call themselves the Injustice League featuring Penguin, Two-Face, Riddler, Bane, Mr. Freeze. They want Harley to “get in line” with them. When she doesn’t agree with their plan — as it sounds like just another Legion of Doom to her — they freeze her in a block of ice.

Tune into the episode to see if Harley’s crew can free her from icy prison, what happens to the Injustice League and somewhat of a shock ending.

Summary

Watched this three times through before writing this review.

So stoked to see the second season kicking off again. Is the fun and excitement there that drove the first season? Yes, and no. It’s not as awesomely energetic and inspired as the season one opener, but it’s still pretty inspired. Tough to match the frenetic pacing episode after episode.

The pacing is a bit awkward, it’s off in this one at times, particularly after the opening scenes, perhaps with a script that is pulling or pushing everything in too many different directions (the Gordon sideplot was interesting, but slow). It’s a smart allegory on the episode itself which is clearly about the logistical challenges of a society ruled by anarchy.

Some nice side character development. We see Robin dressed as Batman and delved into what Commissioner Gordon is doing without his beloved police force and Batman, but didn’t get much of the Injustice League carnage, which would have been been more exciting and entertaining had it been interspersed with the other scenes.

Harley’s interaction with the henchmen and goons is fun and frolicy — which is what this series does best. The Ivy and Harley friendship remains with Ivy trying to talk sense and Harley barely listening and/or not understanding.

I was thinking the episode was unfocused until the third act, which expertly pulls it together. This rises the overall episode rating by at least a half star. It’s a promising beginning to the second season, but I missed Kite Man and Frank The Plant. Despite a few missteps, it’s great having this series back.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

FIRST LOOK: Never Rarely Sometimes Always (VOD)

The number of new(er) releases hitting VOD is multiplying and growing. Check out the list above in red with 8 of 9 titles released on various streaming channels.

As for the “limited” theater releases that I’ve remarked before are (too often) difficult to locate, maybe when the pandemic passes, we’ll be in a world where “limited” means that it is simultaneously available on VOD, preferably at a reasonable rental price.

But back to Never Rarely Sometimes Always.

Eliza Hittman’s “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” won prizes in Sundance and Berlin before Focus Features released it in early March — days before theaters closed nationwide. The Universal subsidiary is now following a strategy it applied to movies like “The Invisible Man” and “The Hunt” by pushing “Never Rarely” into VOD on Friday.

How the Producers of Never Rarely Sometimes Always Made Peace With VOD | IndieWire

I vaguely remember this movie, and it wasn’t part of our Coming to theaters in March 2020 list, so it was probably showing as a limited release.

Our coming soon lists are so jacked up right now. April 2020 is a real mess with maybe two of the proposed 11 movies actually being released as planned. I don’t know what the story is with My Spy, that movie has moved around multiple times and it’s showing at MovieInsider as still being released (somehow) in April, but that is probably inaccurate and it’s been delayed or moved again.

Bottom line, it’s not a good time to be covering movies released in theaters, because there are almost none being released. Out of necessity, I’m spending more time on streaming movies & TV, plus news, opinion and research posts where the information won’t change tomorrow, next week or month.

When theaters open again, we’ll go back to regular programming.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always will be available on VOD April 3, 2020.

Laugh at XVP Comedy’s CATS: THE BUTTHOLE CUT

Cats ½ – Unwatchable

We could all use a good dose of humor, and this quickie MAD-style take on the unintentionally horrific musical movie Cats should hit the spot.

It also spoofs the whole #ReleaseTheSnyderCut meme.

The rumors about a version of the film filled with buttholes caused a frenzy on the internet, with everyone writing and tweeting about how fans demand the release of this version. There was even a hashtag, #ReleaseTheButtholeCut, floating around during the very, very long month of March.

CATS: THE BUTTHOLE CUT Gives The Fans What They Want – Nerdist
We all need THE BUTTHOLE CUT to make us smile

This reminds me of something we might have seen in one of those zany spoof movies like the one with Charlie Sheen in it. More, more, please! LOL.

Corona – The Already Finished Coronavirus Movie with No Distributor or Release Date

The cliche ‘the early bird gets the worm’ seems very applicable here.

This movie should probably be under a FIRST LOOK, only we haven’t done them for movies that don’t have a distributor and release date. This is more of a finished film, complete with an IMDB page, looking for a home.

The second, and possibly most important, factor that could make Corona stand out in the market is that it truly is the first film covering the hysteria behind COVID-19. That novelty alone will draw people into watching what Mostafa Keshvari’s film has to offer to the world.

There’s Somehow Already A Finished Coronavirus Movie – CINEMABLEND

The movie even has a trailer already:

Corona official trailer

Trailer thoughts:

  • That guy with the swastika tattoo on his head looks like he’s about to snap before he snaps
  • Nobody is practicing safe distancing, they must be forced to be in close quarters — which will only add to the fear and tension
  • “China. That’s where the virus is from …”
  • The acting seems a bit amateurish in the trailer, but maybe it gets better in the actual movie(?)

Corona does not have a distributor or official release date. Maybe one of the many streaming channels will pick this up.