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?

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.

The “Popup” Phenomenon – COVID-19 Stats in Washington State still trending upward with 2,000+ deaths nationwide, 30,000+ globally

The graphics via The Seattle Times shows the primary danger of fatality is age 70+

On the east coast, in the interest of social distancing, there is/has been popup drive-thru coronavirus testing:

At the recommendation of a doctor, those with an appointment can drive up, get swabbed by medical professionals and be on their way back home without the risk of exposing many more health care professionals and the general public than if they were at a hospital. Results are said to take about a day or so to come back.

1st drive-thru coronavirus pop-up testing site continues at Glen Island Park

Haven’t heard about anything like this in Washington State, but it’s a good idea. Our state, unfortunately known as the first state where this appeared in the United Stated, we’re in the midst of a two-week “stay at home” order. My wife and I both work in “essential/critical” jobs, so we are still going to work somewhat normally. I’m taking two days off, which is a little abnormal, considering I usually work six days. That extra day is my extra way of providing additional social distancing.

There is one question on our minds, probably on everybody’s minds that lives in this state (and elsewhere around the world, too):

Is the pandemic near its peak?

With 2,000 nationwide now dead from the disease, 189 in Washington state, we don’t appear to have reached the peak in America, but if we use China that is about 45 days ahead of us in their results, we could be nearing that point.

As the article linked above indicates, about 2/3 of America are in shelter in place or stay at home orders, some 215 million Americans and counting. My wife and I are carrying around copies of emails on our phones which authorize our status as allowed to work, just in case we’re stopped. One of my wife’s co-workers has been stopped and questioned.

The Seattle Times maintains a live updated page containing the COVID-19 statistics for Washington State residents. The top of this blog post shares Friday 3/27 statistics and here are Saturday 3/28:

A 587 jump between 3/27 and 3/28 for confirmed cases and 14 deaths

I’ve been clicking over there once a day to see the changes from day to day and trying to use this as a gauge for when the virus shows signs of receding and more businesses might be able to reopen again.

The [Washington] state Department of Health announced 516 newly confirmed cases Friday, bringing the state total to 3,723 cases, including 175 deaths. The bulk of Washington’s cases remain in King County, which haas seen 1,828 people fall ill and 125 die.

Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, March 28: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation | The Seattle Times

It would seem the jump in people newly tested and affected is rising, not falling or leveling off yet, but remaining hopeful that these times are the worst right now and it will level off and began to recede soon.

While you might not expect this kind of coverage here, this pandemic is affecting nearly everything we regularly do.

It might seem inconsequential or unimportant to mention movies as recreation and entertainment during these times, but this sort of escapism is part of the cure mentally. We need to focus on something other than only the unseen enemy in our midst. Books, movies, TV, the internet, thank goodness we have you!

So, movies, let’s talk.

Movie theaters are shuttered, too, of course, but some pop-up drive-ins are starting to appear.

What are pop-up drive-ins?

Previously, we discussed a resurgence of some drive-in theaters. Unfortunately, in our area the drive-in theaters have delayed opening, due to the shelter in place order in our state.

I wasn’t familiar with what a “pop-up drive-in” experience was, until I started seeing articles like this one: Hundreds Show Up to Pop Up Drive Up Movie Night in Gering

A business at pop-upcinema.com around setting up portable drive-in movie theaters

Googling, I learned that there is a business operating in South Africa which specializes in the popup drive-in experience (pictured above). Instead of a bouncy house, it’s a gigantic screen filled with air. Cars roll into parking lots or other big areas and the screen is displayed for all to watch. The sound is transmitted using Bluetooth, it seems.

Openair.us operates in the United States, selling an 18 foot inflatable screen that weighs 17 pounds!

Some of these pictures do not depict the proper 6′ social distancing, but hey, the screens look cool!

There are various companies who sell popup movie screens if you already have a projector and a huge open space on your property so you could make your own outdoor popup drive-in theater.

Years ago, we had a really bad storm in our area that took out all power for several days. I remember reading by candlelight and cuddling up in heavy blankets to stave off the cold. That reminded me how much we take for granted lights and power. Luckily, we don’t have weather issues piling on, too.

Hopefully, soon we can begin to post signs that the other stuff going on is receding, more people can return to work, businesses can reopen and the economy can begin rebuilding and healing.

I’m going to keep on writing about movies, TV and other entertainment and recreation. Pull up a chair, light a good fire if you have a woodstove or a virtual one and let’s get lost in the wonderful world of imagination.

Harley Quinn Animated Series Not Greenlit for Third Season … Yet

Greenlighting anything in the current movie and TV production environment is extremely unlikely.

Animated series often take even longer to produce, so once an animated series is greenlit, IF it even happens, we’re likely a minimum of 1-2+ years away from seeing any episodes. For now, the 13 episodes that make up season two and start streaming from April 3 – June 26, 2020 might be our last remaining fix of the adult, animated Harley Quinn.

Speaking with ComicBook.com’s JK Schmidt, Harley Quinn writer Justin Halpern revealed that while he and the writer’s room have a general idea of where they’d like the show to go, they’ve yet to receive a season order from the higher-ups at WarnerMedia, especially with the launch of HBO Max looming large in the coming weeks.

Harley Quinn Showrunners Address if DC Universe Show Will Get a Third Season

Warning: the article linked above does get into semi-spoiler territory for season two further down in the article, particularly in discussion of Harley and Ivy. Wish I hadn’t read that far into it. Even though it’s couched as non-spoiler, too much is given away.

TV series’ can go downhill, but Harley Quinn is certainly off to an outstanding start in season one. No idea how good season two will be yet, but we’ll soon find out. If it’s even half as good as the first season, it should be renewed for a third season. The writing is fresh and inspired, the animation and voice acting fantastic and comedy is pure gold. Add all this up and it’s the flagship reason to sign up for DCU.

Harley talking to Dr. Harleen Quinzel, now that’s introspection!

That, and if you are a DC comic book fan, they have like 20,000+ comics to read. Probably enough to keep you reading for years.

Are you excited for Harley Quinn season two? Friday April 3, 2020 probably available at 6AM PST (GMT-8), mark your calendars.

She’s Joking, Folks – Courtney Cox “doesn’t remember” being on Friends?

I laughed when I read this, because it’s a pretty funny joke … or is she serious?

Courtney Cox really does remember being on Friends, she just isn’t remembering many of the specific episodes. The quote below is puzzling.

“I don’t remember even being on the show,” she admitted matter-of-factly during Kimmel’s “Quarantine Minilogue” segment. “I have such a bad memory!”

Courteney Cox on ‘Friends’ reunion: ‘I don’t even remember being on the show’

Again, Courtney Cox really does remember being on Friends. An actress that has to rehearse for a show in front of a live audience not remembering the show? It seems a bit far-fetched. I can understand how she might mix up some of the storylines, but not remembering being on it much at all?

Courtney Cox without much makeup playing a Friends trivia game …. and losing badly

Watch the video clip for the context, because the write-up needs context — badly.

Wonder Woman 1984, In The Heights, Scoob Predictably Pushed Back by Warner Bros

There has been some (mostly) silly talk this week about Wonder Woman 1984 possibly being released directly to streaming. Didn’t bother posting about this because it seemed too far-fetched.

Don’t get me wrong, someday I do think the lines of the theatrical window will be tested with a tentpole movie like WW1984, but we’re not there yet. I’ll be excited and all for it, when it does happen, btw, but probably in a very small minority that feels that way.

Disney, Amazon, Apple and some others have warchests big enough to roll the dice on an experiment like that, but not Warner Bros. even though they are coming off the success of Joker and modest reception to Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.

“When we greenlit ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ it was with every intention to be viewed on the big screen and are excited to announce that Warner Bros. Pictures will be bringing the film to theatres on Aug. 14,” Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman, said in a statement. “We hope the world will be in a safer and healthier place by then.”

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ ‘In the Heights’ Delayed Due to Coronavirus – Variety

Yeah, yeah, I know Warner Bros. are owned by AT&T, but they — nor the financers behind the film — want to see anything but a theatrical release for a tentpole film like this. And not in the midst of a pandemic.

In other words: this pushback date was fairly obvious.

With that said, there are movies testing the theatrical window, see: Universal will break theatrical window with Trolls World Tour available for same day streaming

The movie theater owners group (a different kind of NATO) seemed disappointed to say the least with Universal’s decision. They aren’t exactly “lying” as they are accused of, because there are a small number of drive-in movie theaters that are showing new movies. Trolls World Tour may not be getting a wide release as planned, but they are releasing it simultaneously in both.

CBS All Access One Month Free To Binge Content Using ‘GIFT’ Code Good Until April 23, 2020

Binge watch all five seasons of the classic TV series The Twilight Zone (yes, including season 4)

So this has been done primarily so you can binge the 10 episode season of Star Trek: Picard (see: Done Watching and Reviewing Star Trek: Picard), but I’d recommend binge watching the original Twilight Zone — including the hour long season four episodes (not available on any other streaming service) — heck, even Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone first season in black and white or one of the many classic TV shows you might not even realize were CBS shows. All, in my opinion, are superior to Picard, but binge it and draw your own conclusions.

To take advantage of the deal, sign up for CBS All Access using the code GIFT anytime before April 23rd. As part of that process, you’ll need to create an account and give CBS a credit card to charge when the month is up; the monthly payment will automatically renew once the free trial is up.

CBS All Access is offering a free one-month trial, just in time to binge Star Trek: Picard – The Verge

Free is a great price, although will admit feeling a bit of “haha sucks to be you” for paying for two months to see Picard, which was underwhelming, only to find out that CBS would let everybody see it for free. Oh well, that’s the risk we take.

Even if Picard doesn’t do it for you, CBS has some great IP in their vault. I Love Lucy, The Brady Bunch, Cheers, Family Ties, Happy Days, Hawaii Five-O, Mission Impossible (!), Perry Mason (!), Twilight Zone (!), The Odd Couple, Taxi and more!

It’s a good service to relive some really fantastic TV shows. Their movie offering is very small, perhaps a couple dozen titles at the most. Don’t join CBS All Access for movies, you can do much better with Amazon Prime, Netflix or Hulu, but they have some TV shows that are well worth watching and rewatching.

Happy binge-watching!