Ad-Supported Streaming Gaining More Traction in 2020

Just ask Shaggy how easy it is to blow out dynamite — metaphor: ad distraction during movie

While I understand commercials with TV shows, I’m not a fan of ads interrupting the movie watching experience. An ad or two before the movie starts, fine. Commercials every 20-30 minutes or worse ruin the viewing experience.

We’re in a relatively ad-free premium subscription era right now, but that could change going forward if our premium subscribers think they need to get a piece of the ad pie. Selling whatever we do is big business, just ask Google and Facebook.

Read between the lines. These media companies are now showing more interest in maximizing the monetization potential of streaming video than they ever have in the past. Better monetization potential of a growing number of AVOD viewers means it finally makes sense to make more deliberate investments in the model, which in turn grows the audience, which in turn boosts ad revenue, etc. Peacock and Tubi alone added nearly 30 million new viewers between them in just a few months. Just wait until these media companies really pull out all the stops.

Ad-Supported Streaming Is About to Dent Subscription Streaming, and Crush Cable

This makes me less than excited to think of HBO Max adding an ad-supported pricing tier in 2021 (see: Does an ad-supported HBO Max make sense, really?). Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ have never had them, Peacock launched with ads, Hulu has them, but they tend not to be not too intrusive when watching movies, they are much more noticeable with TV shows. CBS All Access has them, again, not too intrusive with their smaller selection of movies, but definitely noticeable with TV shows.

I think we’re all conditioned that LIVE TV has commercials. Enjoy watching live sports from time to time and will be watching at least some of the election debates coming up. The commercials being there are to be expected. It’s just a different thing when you’re watching movies. It’s OK for ads at either end. Previews before movies are fine, as long as not too many.

Evel Knievel vs. Disney’s Duke Caboom Legal Dispute

Am no legal scholar here, but the similarities between the two pictured above are undeniable.

Does Duke Caboom in Toy Story 4 infringe upon Evel Knievel? That’s the question Evel’s son, Kelly, and his company are asking the courts to decide in a lawsuit aimed square at Disney.

A company called K&K Promotions just filed suit against Disney, Pixar and whole a bunch of their subsidiaries … claiming the stuntman driver toy that Keanu Reeves voiced in the latest ‘Toy Story’ flick is a clear and obvious rip-off of the legendary American motorcycle daredevil.

Disney Sued Over ‘Toy Story 4’ Duke Caboom Resemblance to Evel Knievel

We’re guessing the likeness alone wasn’t what immediately triggered the lawsuit, but the toy that Disney made of the stunt cycle. There can only be one wind-up stuntcycle from a daredevil motorcycle, and that’s the classic Evel Knievel Ideal toy. Once upon a very long time ago, I had one of those badboys and it was more fun than any toy has the right to be.

When you start getting into the toy licensing business, it’s a whole other issue. There’s a series on Netflix right now covering just how big the toy business is for franchises and that’s something Evel’s estate can’t overlook.

Not sure why Disney didn’t just go all in and buy a license for Evel? Wouldn’t that have been even more exciting in Toy Story 4 to have an Evel Knievel daredevil toy in the movie? Talk about crossbranding galore.

No idea how this turns out, but when the courts are involved it can get expensive quickly.

Shudder Reaches 1 Million Subscribers on September 23, 2020

Creepshow Season 2 is filming now for future release on Shudder, slated most likely for 2021

Congratulations to AMC’s Shudder for hitting the seven figure subscriber milestone.

“The addition of original series and movies turbocharged our growth and turned Shudder into a must-have service for anyone interested in great horror, thriller or supernatural entertainment,” said Miguel Penella, president of SVOD at AMC Networks, in a statement. “Our relentless focus on quality programming, innovative content and finding the best up-and-coming creators has enabled Shudder to break out in the crowded world of subscription services.

AMC’s Horror Streaming Service ‘Shudder’ Reaches 1M Subscribers | Cord Cutters News

This news comes in the middle of their 61 days of Halloween horror event that kicked off on September 1 and runs through Halloween 2020.

Being a huge horror fan myself, Kara finds it one of her least favorite genres, this news is even better. Have said it before that Shudder is a must have for hardcore horror fans. Even if you subscribe, binge what you want for a couple months, leave and then come back and do it again a few months later. Whatever your horror watching strategy, at some point Shudder should be part of it.

And nobody is paying me to say that, nor are there any affiliate links to the site here. We’re subscribers and horror fans, that’s all, passing along something good.

As far as niche streaming sites go, this one is one of my most favorites. DC Universe used to be, but they are getting out of the streaming movie and TV show business, going comic books only and their video content is moving to HBO Max.

Anything you’d like to see playing on Shudder? They do have some modern horror films, but their sweet spot is titles that are older and newer originals, like recently I watched Nicolas Cage in Color Out Of Space ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (recommended).

Rocky 4 Director’s Cut Will Not Have Paulie’s Funky Robot

Sylvester Stallone has teased bits and pieces of his director’s cut of Rocky IV, saying that it would be “amazing”and that he was cutting Paulie’s strange, rolling robot.

Sly responded to some fans’ queries about the bot, and he says, “The robot is going to the junkyard forever. No more robot,” while adding to another fan, “I don’t like the robot anymore.”

SYLVESTER STALLONE: I’M SCRAPPING PAULIE’S ROBOT From New ‘Rocky IV’ Cut

I never quite understood how the robot fit the story anyway (was it supposed to show how we were in modern times and give Paulie something else to do besides be a flunkie friend?) and apparently Sly doesn’t groove on it any more either. Granted, a convenient prop for when Apollo calls to say he wants to come out that Rocky can break from washing his car and take the call directly from the robot.

Maybe an edit to the Rocky washes his car scene, telling his son that he fights so his son doesn’t have to fight, then cut to Apollo showing up at the house to talk over the Drago exhibition fight with Rocky, Adrian and Paulie. Again, to cut the robot out of there is fairly easy. Paulie won’t get to say that uber cheesy line about the robot, “She loves me!” or maybe have the kid spraying him with whipped cream and the robot answering, “I’ll clean it up for you, Paulie.”

Cut the camp, it probably makes the immediacy of the exhibition fight between Apollo and Drago more dramatized. I like the idea.

But what else will be cut in Rocky IV?

While Stallone has been largely silent about progress on the director’s cut thus far, he did promise in an Instagram reply to a fan that this new version of Rocky IV will be “amazing.” Even if there’s not much to go off, Stallone’s comment was still eagerly received by fans, many of whom are ready to see Rocky step back into the ring.

Rocky 4 Director’s Cut Fan Poster Highlights Balboa’s Fight With Ivan Drago

Will the awesome video montage from Robert Tepper’s “No Easy Way Out” be cut? Loved that song, as it serves as a good way for Rocky to relive the past few movies. My guess is Sly leaves that in.

Over 35 million views on YouTube of this video:

Here’s another video of a much older Robert Tepper performing “No Easy Way Out” live at the Whisky A Go Go in 2016:

A pretty faithful live version for a well-aged Robert Tepper. Could have probably done without the sweating t-shirt look, but hey, this is an 80s iconic song from a freaking 63-year old man — major respect!!

I think Stallone really wanted to push music in Rocky in this film. There is also the “Burning Heart” by Survivor sequence when he gets off the plane in Russia. Perhaps he was trying to rekindle the Rocky III magic of “Eye of the Tiger” also by Survivor, but that’s just a much better song. Also, that movie has Mr. T as Clubber Lang which is a better antagonist than the barely speaking, mountain of a man, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lungren).

If you’re wondering how we rank the Rocky films, see: Ranking Stallone’s Rocky and Creed Films

What would you cut in Rocky IV? Is there anything you’d add, assuming there is extra footage available? Perhaps a longer final fight or exhibition fight? Scrapping between Drago and Rocky at the press conference? A longer — or shorter — training montage? Less Paulie and Adrian? More?

Ahh, the possibilities! It’s fun thinking about how to retool classic movies. It would be cool if they put up all the footage and let fans cut the film. #ReleaseTheFanCut. I bet fans cutting films would make for some very interesting and perhaps endlessly watchable versions of films. Someday, maybe.

YIKES – Disney Postpones Black Widow, West Side Story, Death On The Nile … more

Originally May 2020, now 2021, a bloody red x so fitting

2020 is proving to be disastrous on many levels and, somehow, it’s even worse for movie theaters.

Disney must not have liked the results of their own Mulan premium VOD experiment and/or what they saw with the business Tenet was doing domestically and has thrown a grenade into the schedule, triggering a cascade of titles being postponed.

They’ve pulled the lone remaining Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) title for 2020: Black Widow, which was set to be released November 6. Also gone is Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story and Death On The Nile which was coming in October. The full list of changes is detailed after the jump.

The results are bad news for the exhibition industry, which is facing fierce headwinds after closing for months due to coronavirus. The studio has kept the late November release date of Pixar’s “Soul,” surprising some in the industry who had expected the animated family film to either move to a later perch or get released on Disney Plus. The moves set off a cascade of distribution shifts that will upend the theatrical landscape for months. Other Marvel releases, such as “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Eternals” will all debut deeper into 2021. Disney’s release date shifts all but guarantee that box office revenues this year will reach a nadir — analysts have already projected that domestic grosses would decline between 70% to 80% due to the pandemic.

‘Black Widow,’ ‘West Side Story,’ ‘Shang-Chi’ Postpone Release – Variety

Have to put these changes in bullet list, because there are numerous to share. All the more reasons we’ve not posted the 2021 list of movies coming soon yet (had it draft status and been making changes for several months now — it just keeps changing and changing and changing…).

  • Death on the Nile (delayed, moved from Oct 9 to Oct 23, move #2 to Dec 18, 2020)
  • The Empty Man (moved UP from Dec 4, 2020 to Oct 23, 2020) – this is taking Death On The Nile’s slot
  • Black WidowFIRST LOOK (delayed, moved from May 1 to Nov 6, move #2 to May 7, 2021)
  • Deep Water (delayed, moved from Nov 13, 2020 to August 13, 2021)
  • West Side Story (delayed, moved from Dec 18, 2020 to Dec 10, 2021)
  • Eternals (delayed, already moved from 2020 to Feb 21, 2021, move #2 to Nov 5, 2021)
  • Shang-Chi (delayed, moved from May 7, 2021 to July 9, 2021)
  • The King’s Man (moved UP from Feb 26, 2020 to Feb 12, 2021) NOTE: this movie has moved around many times already

Keep in mind that the house of mouse was responsible for some 33%+ of domestic box office sales in 2019 (source). But, and hesitate to show unrealistic optimism, there are new movies still coming in 2020. Don’t give up on 2020 fellow movie theater fans.

Yes, a decent number of new movies remain on the schedule for October (6), November (7) and December (8) 2020. By our count as of this writing: 21 total new wide release remain left for 2020 including several notable titles: Ammonite, Soul, No Time To Die, Free Guy, Coming 2 America, Wonder Woman and Dune.

The news is fresh from earlier today, so we’ll see what other changes follow as time marches on.

To end on a positive movie-oriented note, just watched Enola Holmes ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – on Netflix that came out today. Good stuff! Didn’t think I’d like anything Holmes related without Watson, but his sister is entertaining fare. Recommended.

STXFilms delays Greenland until TBA 2020

Looking forward to seeing Greenland starring Gerard Butler this week in the United States? Sorry, us too, we’ll have to wait until “TBA 2020.”

Yeah, that dreaded “TBA”, the unknown To Be Announced date in the future.

Deadline said in an article that it will be released at some point in Q4 2020, but I can’t find any other source that states anything that specific “TBA 2020.” (see screenshot taken from Movie Insider further below)

Outside the United States, Greenland has already been screening in some countries.

STXfilms are distributing the movie, which has been released in some countries, such as Belgium, where it was shown in 55 theaters and made a total of $73,112 at the box office. Greenland has now been on a wider release internationally for three weekends and has made a total of $10.2 million as of the end of August. Unfortunately, the postponement of Greendland’s domestic release date was inevitable due to the ongoing global situation still raging on throughout the United States and theaters remaining closed.

Gerard Butler’s Greenland Gets Delayed Indefinitely

Doesn’t seem like the film is doing crazy box office numbers internationally, but it still looks like from the trailer a potentially decent disaster flick.

I’m a fan of the disaster genre, so hoping to see how this one measures up against movies like Armageddon and Tea Leoni’s Deep Impact.

A FIRST LOOK for this film will be coming after the new release date is announced.

If you’re an international reader, have you had a chance to see Greenland yet? No spoilers, please, but let us know what you thought in the comments.

Harley Quinn finally receives much deserved season three renewal and DCU will become comics only

Harley is ready to party now that she has a third season on her way!

Have been away celebrating our 31st anniversary, but did not miss that WarnerMedia has made a few announcements, both are not huge surprises. The “big news” this week (see: Jim Lee Promises “big news” Regarding DC Universe’s Future “next week” – Let’s Speculate!) is Harley Quinn, the awesome adult animated series has been greenlit for season three.

Yay!

Harley Quinn, from showrunners Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, has picked up steam since its first two seasons arrived on HBO Max. Sources say the renewal, which came early Thursday, followed a round of negotiations that hinged on a new budget for the series. That process had been stalled by the major executive shake-up at the streamer that saw senior leaders Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly pushed out and oversight of the platform given to HBO’s Casey Bloys. That all of the original scripted and library offerings on DC Universe would move to HBO Max comes as little surprise.

‘Harley Quinn’ Renewed for Season 3 at HBO Max as DC Universe Drops Scripted | Hollywood Reporter

So happy to see this renewal. It was a ray of sunshine this past year for adult animated series (see: All 26 Harley Quinn Episodes Ranked and Reviewed from first two seasons). If you haven’t binged the first two seasons, my goodness, we suggest putting on your watchlist ASAP. You watch in 4K at DCU. At HBO Max both seasons are available to stream, also.

We’re going to be able to see more of this criminally cool adult animated duo

The less positive news, also widely telegraphed, is that DC Universe is going to be comics-only officially effective January 21, 2021:

Current subscribers won’t need to touch anything on their accounts, they’ll simply see the name of the service change January 21, 2021, and find all the video content missing. But if you really, really love comics it won’t be the worst thing in the world. For $8 a month, or $75 a year, you’ll get access to nearly all of DC Comic’s back catalog, and new issues six months after they hit store shelves. And, unlike DC Universe as it stands right now, the comics-subscription service will begin rolling out internationally in 2021.

The Excellent DC Universe Is Dead, and a Comics-Only Service Is Taking Its Place

For comic books fans, the good news is they are reducing the comics to be available on the service from a year to six months and international audiences will be able to gain access. Will they add additional imprints like the very good Black Label comics? That would be good to see.

Bad news, no price change, although if compared straight up with Marvel’s unlimited comics plan DC Universe Infinite, as it will soon be called, the price is still less expensive at $7.99/month.

We’ve been enjoying a special discounted rate of $5.99/month for DCU that became available around Black Friday 2019. Since my eyes are getting lousier, making reading comics less enjoyable than I wish they would be and Kara has zero interest in comics, we’ll probably be dropping our DCU subscription soon. Then again, maybe we’ll hold on to see what other goodies DC Universe Infinite might bring in January. Doubtful there will be as much relevance to this site, as it’s not going to be a streaming service much longer.

Hurry up and binge Wonder Woman 1975 with Lynda Carter, since we will have no WW1984 until Christmas. Both the classic TV seasons are still on DCU, but it sounds like those will be gone in the new few months, so last chance to see them there. Will they move over to HBO Max? Perhaps, as most everything else movie and TV-related there sounds like it’s moving.

Would like to hear what other DCU subscribers think? If you were thinking of subscribing to the service, you better love reading comics digitally, otherwise, probably want to focus on HBO Max or other streamers.

MSN List of 7 Things We Can Give Up To Save Thousands of Dollars Including Movie Theater Tickets

Theaters have attempted to address accessibility concerns in theaters, but have they done enough?

Bah.

We don’t usually link to slideshows articles, because they are blatant ad clickbait. The more times you click on web pages this generates more ad impressions, the more ads showing, meaning the site makes more money. It’s an old, obvious technique to artificially inflate page views and ad impressions, but hey, you didn’t hear that from us (!)

However, this slideshow article caught out attention because it’s about ways to save “thousands” every year. Admittedly, there are some good suggestions on the list of 7, but the last one is movie theater tickets. They always seem to save the most interesting click until the end (another obvious technique).

Is MSN really advocating we give up movie theaters? Sort of.

7. Movie tickets The cost of a movie ticket averaged $9.16 in 2019, according to the National Association of Theater Owners. Prices have been creeping steadily up at least since 1969, when a movie ticket cost $1.42, on average.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

Since the average moviegoer only sees 2-3 movies a year, the stats in this article are woefully misrepresenting reality.

In our case, however, thousands of dollars saved would be almost correct. If you add in the concessions, transportation costs, but the tickets are “only” costing us $44/month. At least the 2D ones are. The 3D, IMAX and other special formats require an upcharge. Even we add those, it probably still doesn’t make it to $1,000 USD annually for us for ticket prices alone and we see every new wide release movie released that screens near us. That’s on average 2-4 new movies every week in the theater, but during these pandemic times has been reduced to 1 new movie per week.

But let’s put the “thousands a year” aside, since that figure represents the most ardent moviegoers like us and ask if we’d give it up just to save money?

Obviously, it’s a big NO. We’re not giving up movie theaters any time soon. Like in this lifetime. We might reduce how much we patronize theaters if they start to die out in favor of streaming, but we don’t believe that’s happening any time soon.

Someday, movie theaters could go the way of drive-in theaters and become more of a niche activity, but those thinking that even with a pandemic and bankruptcies for the major theater chains that movie theaters will be gone in the near future are, respectfully, wrong.

A more likely scenario is the the number of big chains and corporate entities decreases. That’s good for independent theater owners. More of those, please. Yeah, it might drive up our ticket prices, but as the article states, those prices have been driven up anyway.

I’m in favor of a new kind of theater experience, whatever that is. Something fancy and technology-infused that brings in the internet and more social activities. The current theater watching system is dated and needs to change to something more modern. They are flirting around the edges of tech with motion-controlled seating like Regal’s 4DX (see: Have You Checked Out 4DX Yet? 2019 Was Record Year) and ScreenX (Is ScreenX the Perfect Way to Watch Ford v Ferrari?) viewing experiences.

Maybe when Avatar 2 and its other sequels are released, James Cameron will get theaters thinking about a more futuristic viewing experience. That will keep moviegoers coming for years and years to come./

Wolverine Hugh Jackman and Mission Impossible Tom Cruise Both Like Tenet

Tenet ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

Not that movie star endorsements should sway your thinking as to whether or not it’s safe to see Tenet at the movie theater in your area, but we offer a couple celebrity endorsements for your perusal.

Hugh Jackman isn’t the only big star to head to the theaters to see Tenet. In late August it was revealed by Tom Cruise on his social media that he masked up, took a taxi through London, and headed into the IMAX screen to watch Tenet– which subsequently, pleased Tenet star John David Washington. And, not surprisingly, Tom Cruise said he “loved it.”

Hugh Jackman Saw Tenet In Theaters And Shared His Thoughts – CINEMABLEND

Something I didn’t realize — and it’s a bit embarrassing to admit — was John David Washington is Denzel’s son! How could I not have caught this until recently? just didn’t pay that much attention to John David’s last name, I guess. Count me a Denzel fan and, for the most part, enjoyed John David’s performance in Tenet.

Am still sticking by Tenet not being the greatest movie ever and not even my favorite Nolan film to date, but from a technical standpoint, it’s his most ambitious work. I can see why those in the business are gushing over it.

But, as I said, in our review, technical achievements in a movie aren’t all that we should evaluate for great films: what about the story? The Tenet story, as told, is confusing. Pretty much all time travel or manipulation stories like this are difficult to follow.

Is Tenet worth risking your life to catch COVID-19? I’m not aboard into that sort of panic train, but it is an entertaining movie and we recommend to those, again, that feel safe enough to go. If you don’t right now, it’s all good, because this one is going to be around awhile, and probably gets an encore once the pandemic concerns have passed.

Studio hitting pause on Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter because they “don’t know what to do with it”

This is a somewhat puzzling move by Focus Features, unless they truly want to release this film in theaters first. Streaming companies — cough, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, etc — are hungry for more movies, and will pay handsomely in some cases.

Focus Features doesn’t have to pump any breaks on The Card Counter when they can sell it to somebody to stream.

I know, I know, but it needs to be released in a theater! Pounding fists on desk, “we need to support exhibitors!” Um, well, no, you need to stay in business first. Cover those bases or your support will be non-existent for everybody, including exhibitors.

“I was talking to Focus [Features], and I could give them the film in a month,” he said. “They don’t want the film in a month because they don’t know what to do with it in a month. They said, you just take whatever time you need, which is the opposite of the way studios usually talk. I also have final cut, so it doesn’t really matter. What I deliver, I deliver.” He goes on to explain that “The Card Counter” will likely be held until it can do a full film festival circuit and build up anticipation in the same way “First Reformed” did before it was released a couple of years ago.

Paul Schrader Says He Could Finish ‘The Card Counter’ In A Month But The Studio Doesn’t Want Him To

Obviously, as Regal Unlimited subscribers, at $44/month, we want to see as many new movies in theaters released as possible, including The Card Counter, but just putting it on the back burner until … someday is probably financially ill-advised in the current environment.

I’m not sure what makes The Card Counter special. Is it a big budget movie? I don’t think so. Anybody know? This one doesn’t make much sense.