We promised to say something when Quibi started supporting cast to TV in place of their “mobile-first” launch priority, so for those who have (very patiently!) waited, the time is now.
Now Quibi has launched on select smart TVs including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Android TV. This just leaves out Roku and other smart TVs for the moment. This move is the latest in the short-form streaming service’s effort to reach more viewers amid dwindling performance.
Unfortunately that’s the good news. The bad news for Quibi fans is they are “winding down the service” and selling whatever they can.
Whitman reiterated her prior assertions that the company had adequate capital to continue operating for several more months. Instead, she said, “we made the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our talented colleagues with grace.“ She added, “We continue to believe that there is an attractive market for premium, short-form content. Over the coming months we will be working hard to find buyers for these valuable assets who can leverage them to their full potential.”
It might sound like we’re dancing on their grave, but the truth is they took a bunch of investor cash and squandered it with an idiotic launch strategy. You don’t launch a streaming movie and TV show app without, well, widespread TV support (see: Quibi is the Cats of streaming services). Duh.
Investors have to be pissed. Quibi has burned through something like a billion dollars for this launch and have only a couple million ~750,000 subscribers to show for it.
We’re sorry most for the 200+ employees who are losing their jobs. A lot of people are losing jobs out there in 2020 and that is the true tragedy in this story.
And now let the official Quibi Fire Sale begin. Who will buy their content? I still think Apple should jump in, as they have the barest content cupboards, but something tells me they won’t want to nibble on any Quibi leftovers. Netflix? They might do like what they did with YouTube Red (Cobra Kai!!!) and cherry pick some licenses for second seasons. Amazon? Same thing. HBO Max? Peacock? Hulu? CBS, er Paramount+? Let’s hear what you think below.
About 25% are dropping Live TV according to the study below. It’s not just Cable and Satellite either, subscriptions to the streaming Live TV options are on the downward slide.
These numbers come from The Diffusion Group, a syndicated research company. TDG analysts had previously forecasted US households with pay-TV subscriptions to fall in the 83.5 million to 87 million range by 2020, but the actual numbers are lower than that with pay-TV households falling to 81 million at the end of 2019.
And it’s not just cable subscriptions that are falling short of TDG’s projections. Live streaming options like Fubo, Sling, YouTube TV, Philo, and others are also unexpectedly dwindling. It seems like consumers are less concerned with watching TV live as it happens and leaning more toward video-on-demand options.
Why we don’t watch more is a more lengthy question and it probably boils down to the amount of commercial breaks. There’s no reason to watch something you can’t fast forward. Yes, you can DVR live TV and we were into that for awhile with TiVo (loved the Tivo many years ago), but if the point is to watch something live, well, fast forward isn’t an option.
Kara watches almost zero and I watch the Seahawks play football on Sunday sometimes, streaming through Locast.org and sometimes other Sunday NFL games. I haven’t watched a professional baseball or basketball game in quite some time. I’ll watch some boxing matches live. Last year, I paid for the boxing match between Conor Mcgregor and Floyd Mayweather. I’m also likely to pay for and watch Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. fight (see: Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. exhibition fight needs more time — delayed until November 28).
Beyond watching live sports, I’m also interested in some news programs and election coverage every four years. Since we’re in the election cycle, I’ll be tuning in to live TV a little more over the next 30 days or so. After that, live TV will be reserved for special events here and there.
Maybe the Oscars in 2021, particularly because it’s going to be more than interesting pondering what the Academy will vote for. Something tells me they will delay that until 2022 and incorporate 2020 and 2021 films. There just haven’t been enough award-winning type films released so far this year. Given we’ve just entered the main awards season, but the selection is thin right now and doesn’t appear to be improving much.
Let me start this by saying that I didn’t think any actress could ever replace Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. I mean, she was Wonder Woman in the comics and in live action in the 70s.
Just like I doubted — and still do — that Bill Bixby as Dr. David Banner and Lou Ferigno can be replaced as Hulk. And, all due respect to Mark Ruffalo, Edward Norton, they have not done a better job than Bixby. Comparable? Sorry, no.
But Gal Gadot changed my mind with her portrayal as Wonder Woman. She could and did successfully fill the giant shoes of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman and I can’t wait to see WW1984, hopefully on the big screen.
So, when I read that the Wonder Woman combo of director Patty Jenkins and actress Gal Gadot are teaming up to remake Cleopatra, my initial reaction was, “yeah, that fits. I could see her in that role.”
Casting-wise, isn’t this the criteria? I’ve never done casting for a movie, so am looking at this totally without any professional standing. Pure amateur viewpoint. But from an experienced moviegoer, if you will. Someone who wants to see movies with proper casting, of course.
Perhaps a simplification, but you also want to cast an actress that will draw interest to a film, so the more unknown actors/actresses you fill the roles in a film, the less likely it will be to garner initial moviegoer interest. That doesn’t mean a film with unknowns can’t be awesome, it simply means initial interest in the film can be affected negatively by not having a star attached. I think even newbies to the movie business understand this as a basic casting premise.
Gadot is a pretty big name right now for actresses and if you want your film to do well, and want a bigger budget for the film, an all star director and actress for this picture helps. Patty Jenkins might not have a huge portfolio of movies, but the ones she’s done to date have been outstanding. She’s a very skilled director and I look forward to her movies.
Am not sure I’m looking that forward to the actual movie in concept, however — I’m very jaded on remakes, the casting and director have nothing to do with it — yet will hold judgment once more on the story and perhaps a trailer are released. It could be something I’m very, very interested in seeing. Regardless, if it’s a wide release in a movie theater and I’m not somehow prevented from seeing (health, theaters closed, etc), I’ll be watching that movie someday in the future. It’s the movies I’m most interested in, the stories. All I ask of casting is that if it is based on a real person, does the person resemble the person, or could prosthetics make that person look similarly. This helps the suspension of disbelief.
I mean, Gadot goes from a DC superhero character of an Amazonian goddess to Cleopatra? Seems like a fitting role for the actress.
And yet there are detractors to the choice. Some who want the role to go to a black actress.
Even The National in the UAE critiqued the choice of Gadot. In an article about five actresses of Arab descent who could play Cleopatra, the author notes that she was actually of “Macedonia-Greek heritage.” The author notes “it also raises the theoretical question: If Gadot wasn’t in the frame, does the Arab world have stars of its own with sufficient stature to be considered for such an ambitious project?” The article admits that since Cleopatra was of Greek background, “the casting call could have been spread far and wide.”
This discussion seems out of bounds to me. Can you imagine a job interview in any other job except Hollywood where a person’s race would have anything whatsoever with getting the job? It is making me think of job discrimination in the hiring process.
Lest we forget that acting is a job. It might be at a higher level (not extras, not small supporting roles) a very specialized job with extremely great pay — in high profile cases like Gadot’s anyway (she was paid $10 million for her role in WW1984), but it’s still a job.
Casting decisions are not like hiring someone for long term employment, it’s for a project, but actors aren’t viewed as independent contractors.
They have to show up on set at set times and they have to follow the instructions in the script (yeah, there are exceptions) and the instructions of a director. It stands to reason that normal employment hiring laws should at least somewhat follow casting. I don’t know for certain that’s the case, but when I read “a black actress should be hired” it makes me feel the same as “a white actress should be hired.” Neither statement sounds like a viable or even legal hiring criteria.
Do you like Gal Gadot being cast as Cleopatra? Why? Why not?
It should be noted we are not fans of the vast majority of remakes, especially when it comes to classic movies. If the movie was great to begin with, if it’s a classic, then why to try to redo it … except for money. That’s not a good enough reason to try. There has to be something else gained besides money.
Not saying that no remakes should ever be made. There are cases, a very small percentage, where a remake is justified.
Also, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a remake like Greta Gerwig’s take on Little Women in 2019, but there are some movies where the star is so utterly iconic that there is no suitable replacement for the role.
Bruce Lee in Enter The Dragon is one of those people.
Seriously, who can possibly ever replace the martial arts sensation? I don’t like to use the word “never” very often, but Lee was an extremely rare individual and there will never be another Bruce Lee.
There is also the time era that the movie was made, the early 70s, the fact that Bruce Lee fought to make his first film to show the Asian culture and fought against Hollywood racism and intolerance. Lee fought to change a ton of things in the film.
There is a really insightful podcast by Lee’s daughter, Shannon with a guest of Bruce Lee’s wife Linda Lee Cadwell where they discuss the making of Enter The Dragon (see: Linda Lee Caldwell: Making “Enter The Dragon” – October 2018). You’ll most certainly learn things, as I did, behind the scenes of this movie that you didn’t know about. It’s quite a story.
The article quoted below is from 2018, so no idea where things are at two years later. Most production of movies have been impacted by the current events of 2020 — and not for the positive. Heck, even Netflix is canceling production of projects that I had previously greenlit. Something tells me if there is an Enter The Dragon remake on somebody’s table, it’s gathering significant dust.
Some films are sacrosanct that ought to be left untouched and for many, Enter the Dragon falls into that category. Despite the purists’ argument that both Fist of Fury (1973) or The Big Boss (1971) probably have better character arcs or narrative, it’s unquestionably Enter the Dragon that brings greater joy. A large part of the audiences’ connection with Enter the Dragon is essentially emotional as this was the film that Lee never lived to see. Irrespective, a remake of the film might ultimately not be as controversial as ‘who would play Lee’s character’ in it.
This leads to the question asked in the headline: should Enter The Dragon ever be remade?
My answer is no.
Probably not in my lifetime, anyway, am I interested unless some young martial arts sensation comes along that could fill the role not only on talent but also the cultural history, importance and raw passion that Lee brought to the project. Bruce Lee’s name literally means “little dragon” and the title refers to him. It’s not only professional, it’s personal.
Jackie Chan is far too old — and he was already in the original film anyway. Jet Li comes to mind, but not sure he’s young enough either. I think the youth, although this sounds ageist, matters quite a bit. Could Shannon Lee be in it? She says no in the podcast, but that is kind of an unusual and somewhat intriguing concept. Too bad her brother Brandon didn’t survive because he could have been an interesting choice to star in his dad’s place. We’ll never know.
What do you think? Is Enter The Dragon one of those rare films that should probably never be remade?
Talk about serious violation of the no kiss and tell covenant.
Stone worked with De Niro in the movie Martin Scorsese’s epic Casino as a whale (large gambler) hustler who earns De Niro’s eye and affection.
“It was the actor that I admired the most and had, my whole career, was like, ‘I just want to sit across the table from Robert De Niro and hold my own.’ And maybe because I just held him in such extraordinary, high regard, and it was the pinnacle of the kissing moment for me. There was so much attached to it,” Stone said. “But I was just so madly in love with him as an actress to start with, that, you know, he probably could have hit me in the head with a hammer and I would have been like, ‘Oh, yeah!’ You know, but it was pretty fabulous.”
Considering Stone’s history as a sex symbol and the amount of lips she’s kissed throughout her busy career in Hollywood, this is a curious admission.
Then again, it seems like she was more in awe of De Niro’s talent than other many other actors she’s worked with. Almost like student meets idolized teacher. In that sense, maybe this isn’t a fair comparison.
Saw another story this past week about Gene Kelly deep french kissing Debbie Reynolds to her horror in the famous movie Singing In The Rain.
“The camera closed in. Gene took me tightly in his arms…and shoved his tongue down my throat. ‘Eeew! What was that?,’ I screeched, breaking free of his grasp and spitting.
I ran around frantic, yelling for some Coca-Cola to cleanse my mouth. It was the early 1950s, and I was an innocent kid who had never been French-kissed. It felt like an assault. I was stunned that this 39-year-old man would do this to me.”
Thought we wouldn’t be writing any more posts here about Quibi until they enabled a promised cast to TV option. To my knowledge, they still haven’t done that, but here we return again to the black sheep of the streaming family.
Their new plans, if true, might be more egregious than launching without a necessary basic streaming function.
Quibi launched April 6 as COVID-19 was sweeping across the U.S. and much of the world. It was aiming to bring high-end, Netflix-like programming to mobile phones as people were stuck in shelter at home mode. The Journal said Quibi is also considering raising additional cash or merging with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, a popular financial vehicle of late.
The tech bubble burst on company after company essentially using this same playbook. Launching onto the scene with some minor “new” feature/service/site in tech, only to gain a lot of attention, then selling on that attention, finding the startup owner(s) moving onto other startups to commit the same offense again. The new owners of the purchased site/service would often later either bury the tech or resell it at a loss — sometimes a large one — years later.
The goal, therefore, from the original owners didn’t appear to be running a successful business (a lot of times the original service was “FREE” with zero idea of how it would actually make any money), it was to raise enough buzz and attention to sell to the highest bidder.
Don’t know who this writer, Paul Tassi, is at Forbes, but his byline indicates he primarily focuses on “Games”, see the screenshot above from the article quoted below.
All of this is a mess and needs to be consolidated ASAP. If licensing deals are in place for years, leaving content on the likes of Netflix, sure, you have to wait until those expire. But DC Universe being folded into HBO Max would be enormous value added for that service and benefit both it and the shows themselves, with greater exposure and not leaving them relegated to this weird, spin-off DC service that only has like 25% of DC TV and movie content on it. Make the call.
It might be “clear” to the author of this Forbes piece, but it’s clearly not so clear to WarnerMedia and others. Will attempt to dissect this more clearly — ah, that translucent word — below.
Mr. Tassi’s work is an opinion piece, and on that basis is subjective in nature. His opinion can’t be wrong if he truly feels that DC Universe should just be merged into HBO Max. However, his article fails to focus on the main benefit of DCU not being the movie and TV shows — it’s the comics. The 24,000+ DC Comics. Time and again I see articles, including from prominent publications like Forbes failing to properly acknowledge the comic books, devaluing the amazing amount of creative artistic work included for subscribers.
In fairness, the article does indicate there is a “large library of comic books” available to DC Universe subscribers but the author, who also says he is a subscriber, doesn’t seem to place any value on them. In fact, he uses the word “weird” a few too many times to describe DCU. I counted at least 4 uses of the word “weird” in his piece.
There is also the DCU community, and that is free to everybody, not just DCU subscribers. Go over there with this article, and be ready for some pitchforks, Mr. Tassi. They will be kind pitchfork jabs, yes, because they have community guidelines to follow, but they won’t like the verbiage used flippantly in this article describing the service they love.
Comics are a major part of the DCU subscription. Even other DCU subscribers seem to miss this benefit, sometimes, and it is a cause of frustration among other subscribers who love the comics.
Admittedly, I’m not a huge comic book reader any longer — my darn lousy eyes make it difficult to focus on reading them comfortably for long periods of time — but even I can see how good a deal, for most comic book readers, having 24,000+ DC comic books available to read for $8/month. If I already owned the comics in physical or digital copies that I was interested in, yes, it would be less desirable subscribing, but the massive comics library, which grows every single month, can’t be discarded and overlooked.
And article after article just blindly compares DCU to every other streaming service. It’s not trying to be Netflix or HBO Max or even the horror niche Shudder. It’s more in line comparatively to Marvel’s comic book service that costs $10/month and Disney/Marvel does not include any movies or TV shows with that service. At least DCU includes some movie and TV content. The author speaks fondly of Disney+. You can’t read any comics at Disney+, but yes you can see a bunch of Marvel movies. Not all of them, by the way, also due to licensing. Eventually, they will all be there, I’m sure, but now they are in the same boat with pre-existing licensing deals.
Failing to prominently acknowledge these comics and labeling disrespectfully as a “weird, spin-off DC service” is unfair, ignorant and incorrect. Come on, Mr. Tassi. Do a little more research to backup strong opinions like these. You aren’t speaking for all other subscribers, especially not me.
DCU is a good service if you’re interested in DC comics, its heroes and villains. It’s not a very good movie and TV service. I wish the author would have made that distinction “clear.”
Oh, well. If I had a nickle for every online article I disagreed with … well, I could donate significantly to the cause on developing a COVID-19 vaccine.
That aside, I don’t completely disagree that HBO Max and DCU could merge successfully. The problem is people would continue to declare and dismiss the comic books, and consequently their customers, just as they are now. I think WarnerMedia, at least those in charge of DCU, understands this . They don’t want to be some sub service of HBO Max, relegated to a virtual subdomain or subcategory dungeon. And making their comic book customers feel like they weren’t important enough to have their own independent service.
These customers still enjoy buying comic books, subscribe to services like DCU. These people deserve their own service, however large or small that might appear to be — or actually is — to disinterested others.
Probably the wisest move that HBO Max could do is to offer a bundling plan that keeps DCU doing what’s already doing. Give DCU more original programming like the excellent Harley Quinn the animated series and then offer it on HBO Max (with the most recent announcement on 7/6/2020 that Stargirl season 2 will not be on DCU, but exclusively on CW, this does not bode well for any future exclusive DC TV shows, sigh — see: Stargirl Season 2 Renewed for The CW only, not on DC Universe – Crows are circling). Rotate DCU some content out of HBO Max or duplicate for these subscribers movies and TV series like Wonder Woman the original TV series.
Guess what, that’s what they are already doing.
There’s also Batman ’66, owned by Fox (Disney, go figure) and that would be a scoop to buy that back from Disney somehow. Arrowverse, mentioned in the article, will run its license out at Netflix and eventually return to the HBO Max nest and should/could also be made available to DCU subscribers.
What’s I’m saying here is offer a bundle like Disney does with Disney + Hulu + ESPN+ that offers both. I know recently DCU subscribers were offered $5/month to subscribe to HBO Max, but stupidly this was only offered to brand new HBO Max subscribers. Those who signed up for HBO Max like me weren’t included. Also, the offer was limited to six months and then the price jacked up to the regular $14.99/month.
How about they just make a bundle for both for $19.99/month. Or discount it further to $17.99/month. Either price would be a good deal and we wouldn’t have to keep reading articles like this Forbes one where the comic books are completely overlooked and ignored and the anemic movie and TV library at DCU is highlighted.
Making this argument is like saying Netflix should just buy Shudder and merge it into Netflix. Sometimes separate niche entities are executed better. We know when we go to Shudder, it’s all horror, all the time. Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu, they’ll never, ever be able to say that. There’s value there.
Merge, for these reasons is a no from me. Bundling? Yes, that makes sense. But it needs to be a real bundling deal for everybody, not just “new” customers, which is a slap in the face of customers like me who have subscribed for some time to DCU and was a day 1 subscriber to HBO Max.
Your thoughts, as always, are welcome below. Agree, disagree, it’s all good with me as long as you are thoughtful about it. My opinions aren’t facts, nor are the author’s of this piece. The best business decision is probably somewhere between both proposals.
Just don’t think this method is a business wise or most effective way to monetize by disrupting your website readers and potential subscribers. In my detailed comment reply I stated there were other creative ways to drive more subscribers to their site.
Enter virtual events.
“With the huge success we’ve had with virtual events — over a quarter of a million attendees have tuned in from over 110 countries — we’ve realized that a significant portion of our attendees were not current NYT subscribers,” said Jessica Flood, managing director, NYTLive. “We are working to engage that group over the long term in a variety of ways, including a new suite of subscriber-only virtual events launching in the coming weeks.”
By holding special subscriber-only virtual events, it drives more paid subscribers.
When we choose to monetize this site someday, virtual events will be on the menu. I’d love to watch movies with the most engaged and energetic readers and it ties into what we do on YouTube with our “just left the theater” movie reviews. One way to scale these virtual events is to do it behind a paywall.
The New York Times isn’t having movie watching sessions, no, but there are all different types of virtual events and, as the article states above, they are attractive to paid subscribers as an added benefit.
And it continues to bother me that movie theater chains feel like they can’t make any money while they’re closed in the pandemic. Ideas exist, but they’d rather just say “we’re waiting for the new movies to launch in July” — what happens if Tenet and Mulan are delayed? Does that mean they’d hold out on reopening in August?
Summer is going to come and go. Movie theaters need to reopen during the summer. At least one some sort of scale. Open your best performing theaters in major markets first, fine, whatever, just start reopening the locked doors.
I’ve long argued that it’s unfair that tribal casinos as businesses are allowed to play by different rules.
Just to be clear up front, I harbor no ill will to the tribes and their people and am disgusted by American history in how they were treated, but two wrongs don’t make a right. I also enjoy visiting tribal casinos and giving them my business, so full disclosure is necessary.
That said, I wish non-tribal businesses in our state could legally offer gambling.
Whenever legislation has come up to allow any business to be able to have gambling, I’ve voted for it. Always, however, tribes sponsor anti-gambling opposition ads. Of course they don’t want to allow Joe’s Bar & Grill to be able to add slot machines. Or, frankly, any company to come in that isn’t tribal and open a competing casino.
Competition among businesses is good for us. Alas, that’s not the case in Washington State and many other states, unfortunately, where gambling is allowed only in tribal casinos.
Case in point.
Sure, I get that they don’t technically fall under the same laws, but an arts & crafts store called Hobby Lobby is not being allowed to reopen, one that is following social distancing and safety measures vs. a gigantic tribal casino and it defies logic.
“They are not allowed to open under this phase,” said Mike Faulk, press secretary for Inslee. “It’s a state prohibition, so I’m not sure why they would ask local officials to give them clearance.”
The article details that Hobby Lobby can be open, but only for curbside pick-up, not for customers to come inside the store because their business is non-essential and prohibited from opening at this phase in the Washington State rollout plan.
Aye, the rub. Meanwhile, casinos are reopening which have dramatically more foot traffic than an arts & crafts store.
Movie theaters can’t open in Washington State because we’re not at that same phase. Maybe I should be wishing that tribes buy theaters so they could do so.
Don’t get me started on how a casino could be any less high risk than a movie theater.
Whenever you doubt the stupidity of some human beings, look no further than those organizing and attending these so-called COVID-19 parties.
Yes, parties designed for attendees to intentionally contract the virus from infected.
Health officials in Walla Walla, Washington, are admonishing the sudden rise in so-called “Covid-19 parties” where non-infected guests mingle with those who have tested positive for the virus, ostensibly in hopes of speeding up the process of catching, and overcoming, the virus.
(Why does this have to come out of the state where we live, anyway? Sigh)
These parties aren’t unprecedented in history, as the linked article indicates. There were ‘Pox’ parties too, once upon a time.
The Simpsons have always had forward thinking humor. Proof that this show has had some of the best writers in entertainment.
Seriously, people, please don’t attend COVID-19 parties. Doubtful that anybody reading this would consider attending one, but if you are stopping by to say you’re all about it. Please use the comments to explain why. Won’t hold my breath, but hey, the internet is a big place.
I don’t mind making a PSA for this. If someone wants to be part of a scientific experiment, then contact those who are developing vaccines and offer to be a COVID-19 human guinea pig. God bless anybody wanting to help in the process of developing a vaccine. That is intelligent and helpful.