I’m looking very forward to seeing this and yes, I’ll be paying the (presumably) $19.99 VOD to rent this coming weekend.
Remember that, moviegoers, because the studios could — and below I will argue should — release more movies intended for theaters while so many are home ready to watch them.
Check out what Anna Kendrick has to say on her official Twitter account about the new Trolls movie.
The actress makes it pretty clear that she’d prefer fans see the movie in the safety of their own homes. That sentiment seems to be at the heart of why studios are making decisions like this — and they can’t be easy decisions to make.
Listen up, Tim Miller, Elizabeth Banks and others who didn’t know how to promote their new movies (see: How To Better Promote Your Next Films, Elizabeth Banks and Tim Miller), because this is the type of promotion that moviegoers want to see from creative people. We don’t want to hear your political or social views. We just want to hear you excited about however the movie is being released.
Kendrick could have gone into Debbie Downer mode and bummed us all out that the movie isn’t showing on the big screen, but no, she’s smarter than that. She realizes it’s nobody’s fault right now the theaters are closed. She’s excited that moviegoers can see it somewhere, somehow, someway. Huge props to her for the great attitude.
Should More New Wide Release Theater Movies Be Available on VOD?
Yes. Not the big tentpole movies, no, I understand delaying those because of the big budgets.
(only problem with there is Netflix isn’t saying when this is being released)
No Time To Die should have been delayed, Fast & Furious, yes, Black Widow, yes. I don’t understand why A Quiet Place Part II was delayed. It wasn’t a large budget movie, at least as far as I know. It’s a sequel and could have tested the VOD marketplace as Trolls is going to do. It’s the perfect middle to lower tier movie with some good marketing juice to see how direct to home marketing would play out.
Also, there are a lot of movie fans out here hungry for new movies to watch. Fill the need. Stop saying you “have” to release on a big screen. You have a freaking captive market at home, a large market waiting right now. Delaying for months or a year or more if you don’t have a ridiculous budget (looking at you, $100 million budget club) is not servicing your customers.
In most businesses, this type of behavior is financial suicide. Take care of your customers, give them what they want.
Before you get super excited by the words “virtual theater” (like me), as some are billing it, the reality is it is essentially $12 VOD for movies that should be showing in independent theaters. If they weren’t closed.
The title to the theater shown above, “virtual screenings”, is more apt.
Though some “virtual theater” screenings began rolling out around March 20, the weekend of March 27 has the first full crop of movies available to watch, from slick noir to sardonic comedies to repertory titles from the 1970s to Oscar nominees. If you’re looking to see something new and exciting this weekend — and support independent theater at the same time — then here are 15 options available right now.
The problem with this idea is it goes only part of the way. It’s not as virtual as even very dated tech currently currently allows.
What about an Oculus virtual reality app version of your theaters? Oculus/Facebook where are you right now? See: Watching Movies on Oculus Go
What these independent theater owners should be doing is personalizing the movie watching experience. How about scheduled watch-a-longs where a host has a chat during the virtual screening (see: 2nd Annual Halloween Mystery Movie Event Features 4 Shudder Movies)? Or maybe, the ability for a 3D virtual panoramic tour of your independent theater, choose your seat and then the movie plays, a la Second Life theaters.
The other part of this that is undesirable is the theater owners should already have been doing this. Waiting for the pandemic makes the “virtual screening” pitch seem — and probably is — desperate. If they were embracing virtual reality all along, including handicapped and disabled patrons who cannot as easily attend regular screenings, then this promotion of their virtual theater now would be more genuine and worthwhile. They would be supporting those moviegoers who wanted to come more often to their theater but weren’t as easily able to do so.
So, that’s why I think simply making movies available for VOD at $12 a rental and labeling them “virtual screening” just doesn’t go far enough.
I’m not a theater owner, but giving all of them this free advice: start investigating this tech and embracing it into your business ASAP. Make your patrons feel like the theater is still open, the lifeblood is there, the only thing missing are brand new wide release movies (and you should be plotting and planning to get those pictures screening — like Trolls World Tour that’s coming this Friday, yes, how about a Trolls World Tour viewing party?!).
Good business ideas are out there begging to be grabbed by the creative, the innovative, the wise. Those independent theater owners have a chance at surviving the pandemic.
The virtual playbook already exists. This might be one time where forced social distancing promotes virtual reality as an opportunity it’s never experienced before.
Virtual Screenings – what do YOU think?
Would/will you support your local independent theater through virtual screenings? Or do you, like me, think $12 (or so) VOD rentals, even when the theater gets to keep a meatier chunk of the ticket sale, isn’t quite enough in 2020?
It will be original TV shows delivered in 10 minutes or less episodic chunks specifically formatted to our cell phones. The brainchild of Meg Whitman and Jeffery Katzenberg, it’s not a completely original idea that seems to be targeting YouTube and Netflix in an unusual way.
Though Quibi touts its approach as unique, it’s been done before. Snap Originals, for example, tried shows with five-minute episodes in 2015 and again in 2018. It’s still going, but Verizon’s similar Go90 service couldn’t cut it. Today, the short-form video leaders are undoubtedly TikTok and Instagram, and they’re both free.
Not sure I will like 10 minute edited clips at a time, forming a larger creative work. 10 minutes is a couple scenes really, maybe one really long scene. Then again, maybe this length is enough to keep one engaged and interested? 10 minutes feels like a good length for a movie review (most of ours are 5 minutes or less, but a small few have approached 10 minutes).
What demographic is this targeting? Doesn’t seem like people over 50, but the founders are both in their 60s. See #1.
2 billion invested in this idea? Probably the street cred of Whitman and Katzenberg helped, as well as the promise of advertising on a cell phone, a device that almost everybody owns in the civilized world. It’s a great platform for communication and YouTube videos, but is it for … movies?
None of what above dismisses the possible idea as being viable. Maybe it will be the next greatest thing, but I’m skeptical. From 2003-2009 I covered tech pretty closely and signed up for just about anything and everything that moved, this doesn’t jump out at me as a winning concept. I could be wrong. I’ll check it out and give it a try. The trailers are promising.
Will you be checking it out? 90 day free trial is hardly a losing proposition, except for your time if it turns out underwhelming. Do you want to see movies and TV shows broken down into 10 minute (or less) segments?
Normally I’m a fan of practical jokes, but this year at this very unusual time in the world it seems cruel, so you can relax around this blog, nothing will be not be what it seems. I reserve the right next year to go crazy, but this year I’m staying, not playing.
Friendly reminder to watch what you see and read out there today. Remember to be on guard. There have been years I’ve forgotten what day it was and been pranked good.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is fittingly giving Impractical Jokers: The Movie an early digital retail release on April Fools’ Day, April 1.
Great day marketing-wise to release the Impractical Jokers movie digitally. Am not sure that was part of original marketing, but it’s smart.
The movie, itself? We were entertained and laughed. It’s a bit silly and stupid at times, but you will likely laugh. And right now, especially, laughing is good medicine. You can click the title at the top of the post if you want to read our spoiler-free review. Here is our just left the theater video review (and as I rewatch it, what was wrong with my nose?!?! I keep touching my nose!):
Reviews by Others
Here are what some others think of Impractical Jokers: The Movie.
Brian’s Sport Beat: “It is a fun movie that I would only recommend to fans of the TV show.”
Drew St. Pierre (8/10): “The scripted sequences, although funny, feel a little forced at times. There are plenty of callbacks from the show that will get a laugh out of fans.”
Nickthemoviecritic: “If you want to have a good time with your friends and family, I strongly recommend this movie.”
robbiesmoviereviews (6.5/10): “It’s truly a group viewing movie and you should enjoy the heck out of it if you are a fan of the film. Yet, the movie is not really that original, a giant, glorified episode with a few introductions that make it feel more like a movie.”
rogerinorlando / Movie Nation: “…expectations were low, going in. And while I wouldn’t necessarily suggest you pay first-run prices to see “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” — it’s more Netflixable — the guys did tickle me, against my will, a few times.”
Dyl’s Movie Stuff (5/10): “With half of Impractical Jokers: The Movie being unfunny scripted segments, you might have more fun just binge watching a couple episodes of the show at home.”
Jesse Revell Reviews (3/10): “…horrible scripted scenes, a couple of lousy challenges, an overly long run-time”
Hopefully idiots will not fake having COVID-19. That’s not funny. People are dying all over the world right now and genuinely frightened about contracting it. I love a good joke, but some jokes at some times? No. There is nothing funny about the coronavirus right now. Millions of people out of work, wondering how they will pay their bills is not funny.
Maybe at some point in the future when this is over — and mankind will persevere and we will get past this — then we can all get past the emotional experience and look back we’ll find something humorous to reflect upon (seem very doubtful, but who knows?). Not now. I’m not preaching, that’s just my 2 and 1/2 rusted pennies. Wisdom from an old Jedi, Luke.
Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. In the Julian Calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1.
People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools.” These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.
Paper fish? LOL. After reading this page, I just learned something. Just goes to show you can never stop learning. I just thought it was a day that people decided to play pranks “because.” Didn’t realize there was any history behind it. Did you?
How are you spending your April Fool’s Day? Not going to use the word “celebrating” because that seems out of place this year. Who is celebrating anything right now?
Billed as a sci-fi/horror hybrid, this one seems like right in my movie genre interest.
It originally screened at Cannes in 2019 and released in Ireland, UK and United States on March 27, 2020 (in what limited theaters are open, I guess) as well as VOD simultaneously(?) it seems.
It stars Imogen Poots as Gemma and Jesse Eisenberg as Tom, a young couple looking to purchase their first home. They’re just checking out a lot in ultraboring Yonder housing development when their creepy real estate agent disappears from the tour. Gemma and Tom get in their car to leave but every turn just leads them back to Number 9.
Seems very ironic indeed bearing our current world situation where many people are under stay at home orders.
Titles are significant in drawing my initial interest in a movie. This title? The effective single word title, ah yes. I was thinking it was a twist on aquarium for some reason, but admittedly had to Google it for the full definition:
an enclosure, container, or structure adapted or prepared for keeping animals under seminatural conditions for observation or study or as pets; an aquarium or terrarium.
The definition in my head was close and seems to match the subject matter.
This reminds me from the plot and trailer of the classic Twilight Zone episode “People are Alike All Over” — no idea if that’s where the story ultimately goes, as I haven’t seen it yet (but planning to soon), but I’m getting that feel. That was a good episode too.
Vivarium is available on VOD for rental or purchase as of March 27, 2020.
As moviegoers continue to wait for theaters to reopen, I’ve been thinking about something that streaming doesn’t do as well as movie theaters.
Scratch that. I’m being too kind. Movie and TV originals on streaming promotion is convoluted, largely absent and/or confusing.
Let’s take new wide release movies. If you want to watch a new movie that is advertised chances are better than good you’ll find it at many different movie theaters near where you live. Whether or not we like the 20 minutes of trailers before the new movie plays, it’s a captive promotional vehicle that succeeds in catching our interest in upcoming titles. The more times we see these trailers, the more anticipation builds (or wanes if the trailer sucks).
I could argue that non-wide releases are very similar to what happens to older movies. Those you missed in the theater that enter the complicated licensing morass world of streaming.
Where does the movie end up after its theatrical run? You can pay (too much) in the VOD market buying the streaming or physical media. But what if you don’t want to do that? What if you just want to view it on the streaming channels you’re paying for already without paying an additional rental fee?
HBO, a premium subscription channel, gets a lot of new movies first, but, again, only certain licensed movies. Before HBO, you might catch the movie on an airplane or in a hotel room playing on the “still in theaters” or “just left theaters” movie rotation. After that, it’s the premium channels maybe. After that, maybe Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu or ____, see, it’s confusing.
We would like to see the movie on a streaming channel we’re already paying for, so how can this be done? I don’t want to go into Sherlock Holmes mode looking for where a movie will stream and when.
The new movie coming soon promotion model just works better in movie theaters than it does at home. Go see it at the movie theater and you actually, really have a good chance of seeing it. Once it leaves the movie theater, you can maybe still catch it on VOD or buy the blu-ray, but after that … it’s anybody’s guess when and where it will appear on streaming.
Maybe the studios want it this way so that you have to buy the physical media and/or digital copy? The problem is who wants to buy something that may have zero rewatchability? Yes, you can pay the $3.99-$6.99 rental fee and see what you think. If you love it, then you can pay another $10-20 to buy it.
Maybe the rentals should discount the purchase price? That might make paying $3.99-6.99 more attractive as a rental. I think part of why Redbox took off so well is the convenience (big red boxes in easy to locate areas) and inexpensive rental fees. $1-2 is the sweet spot for rentals. I’d rent more if the price was $1-2. At $4-7, I’m thinking about just waiting for it to appear on the streaming channels I’m already paying for monthly subscriptions.
How many other movie watchers think like this?
Original Movies and TV Shows on Streaming
Now, let’s look at new original movies on streaming. Amazon Prime originals, Netflix Originals, Hulu Originals, Disney+, HBO MAX, Peacock, Apple TV+ and the list goes on. There are too many different places for even someone like me who wants to follow new movies.
Why don’t we see advertising for this on Amazon Prime? Why doesn’t the Amazon Prime interface show me what’s coming soon in their “Originals” area? Instead, all we see is what they already have. Take a look at the screenshot at the top of this post. Nothing about what’s coming soon. April 3 is this week away and a new anthology TV series is coming out and there is nothing promoting it on their own channel!
This doesn’t happen with new wide release movies. We get trailers, articles, advance discussion and then the movie is out and we can go see it from local theaters. In the streaming world, even when we’re subscribed to channels, we too often don’t have this organized promotion.
Netflix is better about promoting their original content. They do have an area on the side of the interface entitled “coming soon” and you can see what’s coming and when. Kudos to them for being one of the few that actively promotes their new, original shows. They also make trailers for some of their new movies. Just recently, we were able to make FIRST LOOK for two Netflix Original movies coming in April 2020. Yay! This is promising. I wish everybody making new movies and TV shows would do this.
Help us out here. Those of us with movie and TV blogs. Make it easier to know when you have something original and new coming out. Throw us a bigger bone so we can get excited and write about it and spread the awareness to others.
Maybe they already are and I’m just not digging around in the right search keywords and subsections of streaming websites. Ask yourself, though, if someone who follows this information, who wants to write about this is having difficulty how are you going to get the attention of someone who just enjoys watching?
Until streaming finds a better way to organize and unite promoting their original projects — and yes, they could get better about this someday — movie theaters have little to worry about with moviegoers. We’ll go to the theater where we know when we can see it. Yeah, we’ll pay more than we should for the concessions, but won’t have to wait for the pricier rental in 60-90 days or buy something that we may not even have liked watching the first time to collect digital or real dust.
This is the big reason movie theaters need not worry about current day streaming. It’s possible streaming improves and organizes their marketing and promotional efforts. Until then, however, if you want to see what’s new, you go to the theaters or wait for the physical media and/or VOD rental. Beyond that, it’s anybody’s guess when and where it will come out.
How do you track movies you’d like to see showing up on streaming channels? Do you use services like JustWatch to track them down? Do you wait them out for VOD, premium and then hope they show up on Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, etc (see: Why Some Movies Are Impossible To Find Online)? What is your strategy for tracking down where to watch them?
Like other moviegoers, I was intrigued by the controversy surrounding the movie’s initial release and subsequent pull and delay.
After seeing it, the hype wasn’t deserved. It wasn’t a bad film, but it wasn’t as politically offensive as charged. Really, that’s my biggest beef with the film, or pork, rather, since a pig is on the box art.
Despite the controversy that was led by people who hadn’t even seen his movie, Zobel says he supported Universal’s decision to shelve the film out of respect for the victims of the recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. As much as the film’s principals wanted to defend their movie against the false narrative around it, Zobel and Co. opted to take the high road and not push back.
Time to dig into my critique, which will contain spoilers. If you haven’t seen The Hunt and want to, then you might want to bookmark this post and come back after seeing the movie. Don’t want to ruin it for you.
… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS AHEAD ….
Political satire that panders to both sides is a difficult sell
Really, this movie would have been better if it went all in on either side of the politics. Instead, the main character is more centrist in behavior and actions, which leaves either extreme political side, right or left, sort of hanging.
If you’re hellbent on making a movie about killing “deplorables” based on a tweet, then why hold back?
This movie felt like it kept wanting to pull back on being extreme — except in the case of the violence. A mistake.
The controversy surrounding the movie raised my expectations to a level that didn’t deliver. It’s like the movie Faces of Death promising to be the most shocking, gruesome thing I ever saw and it was “banned in 50 countries.” All that hype led me to a certain expectation.
This movie failed to deliver on being as extreme as it wanted to be.
Before you can have a message or agenda or subtext, you need an entertaining movie
The basic premise of the movie has been done before — and better. People waking up in an unfamiliar situation and facing death. Go see Cube or Saw. Much better movies about people waking up in strange, perilous circumstances.
As for people being hunted for sport? How about The Running Man or Jean-Claude Van Damme in Hard Target.
Reviews by Others
Let’s see what others are saying about The Hunt.
Cookie N Screen: “…is enjoyable in places but heavily misguided. It feels too much like a gaggle of writers got together and frothed at the mouth to provide the internet with something to get angry about. It’s just – if you are going there, go the whole hog.”
Danielle Vanderstock: “I went in with a pretty good idea of what I would see and I had a good time. Mostly I just enjoyed Betty Gilpin’s brilliant acting and want to see her in more stuff immediately.”
Darren Lucas / Movie Reviews 101: “This is a wonderful satire that will get laughs that will make you think about who you word things in your own life, with a outstanding leading performance from Betty Gilpin.”
Full Circle Cinema / Cleve Barber Jr: “This film is an absolute blast for fans of thriller films. But The Hunt takes things to another level in its final stretch, connecting its story to the classic work Animal Farm. Its incorporation into the film is magnificently brilliant, putting a through line between two works of political satire.”
Nick Bartlett / critical popcorn (3/5): “Everyone is a caricature, from the overly woke liberals who happily murder people but balk at harming an animal, to the immigrant hating fanatics. If anything, the irreverence shown to both sides makes it less controversial”
Nikko Soto (8/10): “Overall, I really enjoyed watching The Hunt and I’m grateful that the film was actually released.”
No But Listen: “The Hunt, with its sharp wit, great action, and propulsive central performance from Betty Gilpin, is worth far more than just the controversy that surrounds it.”
Stan The Man Movie Reviews (4/5): “While the movie has a less than original story arc, like horror films featuring a “last girl,” “The Hunt” approaches the toxic political climate with equal doses of humor and exaggeration. Liberals and conservatives alike should find things to love and hate in the film and, to me, that means it must be doing something right, annoying good people on both sides.”
victorsmyname (3.5/5): “I would love to say that The Hunt, on the contrary, is saying more about human flaws than what an idealogue (who needs the world to function in a black-and-white manner, lest they sacrifice agenda for objectivity) can comprehend. But I don’t wanna make the movie seem too smart. It’s fun, though.”
Not Recommended (or undecided/unspecified)
Amused in the Dark: “…a muddled mess with mildly entertaining death scenes that Spinal Tap would give the thumps up to. I am pretty sure the movie wasn’t taking itself too seriously, but then I go why not? If you are going to make this – take it seriously. If you aren’t going to take it seriously, make it funny. You have to pick…one. At least one.”
Bringin the Juice: “…this is your typical Blumhouse affair, and I am not usually a huge fan of their stuff so you can imagine how I feel here. There are some fun action moments but overall the story and the lessons here just did not do it for me.”
Daniel’s Dunkings: “…as a social satire it’s completely, utterly, magnificently toothless when it should have been tearing lumps out of both sides or even (whisper it) picked a side. But no, instead it’s a shell, a shadow, a pale imitation of the film it could have been.”
David Crow / Den of Geek: “The Hunt so clearly wants to be Get Out and check its target audiences’ privilege. But in the end, it just feels like it spent 90 minutes saying, “I would’ve voted for Obama a third time if I could.”
Halloween Year Round: “Among the stylized killing and dark sense of humor, the film equally pokes fun at liberal and conservative alike, spouting talking points, and discussing commonly debated issues (gun control, immigration, climate change, gender/race equality, etc.).”
In Their Own League (2.5/5): “…is nothing more than an action-filled movie full of stereotypes that missed the opportunity to deliver a powerful message. This film is the live-action depiction of a social media post where both parties are attacking one another.”
Just A Little Bit Random: “While some action works there’s a lot that focuses too much that dwells on blood and gore rather than the action. This is a film for fans of high gore horror, but not a great deal of others.”
Matthew Liedke on Film (1.5/5): “…gives a feeling that it’s just trying too hard. The dark humor here is more eye-roll inducing than laugh producing, the characters aren’t all that great and the movie runs too long considering how simple of a story this is.”
screenaddictreviews (6/10): “the new generation Hunger Games with real world controversy and minor jokes about racism and a whole lot of girl on girl fighting.”
Society Reviews (1/5): “There is no messaging or propaganda in this movie, the writers aren’t smart enough to inject it so what you get is a hollow mess that makes you indifference for anyone who engages in politics.”
The Game of Nerds (2.5/5): “…succeeds broadly, but loses itself in the details. Perhaps the complexity of today’s political conflicts require misfires like this, so that a better film can come along and truly nail it. In that sense, The Hunt may be remembered as the prototype for the film that adeptly satirizes the modern world. It’s the first film I can recall where the conflict centers squarely on a Twitter beef, but it won’t be the last.”
Linked above and wondering what would be the cool thing to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good (I like reader and other blogger interaction). If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review. What comes around goes around and sharing is the ultimate “thank you!” on the internet.
Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quoting from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.