Keanu Reeves star keeps rising. For someone who doesn’t seem much like your typical action star, he is fresh off the hit franchise John Wick which has green lit the fourth Matrix film. The third John Wicks movie made more than $320m worldwide.
Lana Wachowski, who created the franchise with her sister Lilly, will also return as director, along with Carrie-Ann Moss. The new script is co-written by Wachowski with sci-fi novelists Aleksandar Hemon and David Mitchell who wrote Cloud Atlas which was also made into a Wachowski film.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the first Matrix film, which told the story of computer hacker Neo and his discovery the world was in fact a computer generated reality. It was a surprise hit, making more than $460 million worldwide and launching two sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. The franchise which set a new bar in special effects made more than $1.6 billion.
Rumours of a new film have been circulating since 2017, with Michael B Jordan tapped as the lead. Plot details are currently unknown, as is how the role of Morpheus will be handled, originally played by Laurence Fishburne. Some sources say the role may be recast for a younger actor.
Since the original trilogy, the Wachowskis have had a number of commercial disappointments, including Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending. Their Netflix show Sense8 was cancelled after just two seasons
So how will Matrix 4 fair with the hardcore fans? If we look at other popular franchises such as Diehard, Toy Story, Rambo, and Indian Jones, some of them did well at the box office, but most of the fans felt they were lackluster attempts at best. By the fourth film the magic is gone. While Matrx Reloaded and Matrix Revolution did alright at the box office, for the fans they were generally disappointed. Matrix entered into popular culture and still 20 years later it's still referenced both on television and in casual conversation -- a rarity for any film. Why mess with a good thing?
These days, you can’t just sit back and wait for the network to do all the marketing and sales for you. The landscape is just too competitive with too many shows out there jostling for attention. You need to take matters into your own hands as producer Anders Tangen did with his satire ‘Norsemen’.
Knowing it would get lost in the hours upon hours of programming, Tangen launched his own marketing campaign. When Tangen sold Norsemen to Netflix a couple years ago, he knew he had a winning show. It is a period comedy about Vikings but with modern day issues – first world problems, if you will. One chieftain apologizes for his "fear-based leadership style," another hires a slave as his "creative director"
Although the show was well received by audiences, there was a problem. With so many shows on Netflix, its U.S. service alone has 1,700-plus TV series, how would a Norwegian Viking comedy get noticed, especially when Netflix doesn't traditionally provide a marketing push for acquisitions?
The key to landing on Netflix's radar, Tangen knew, would be to hack the recommendation algorithm so it would appear as a suggested viewing for people searching for new shows to watch. The idea was to get enough people interested in the show early and then get Netflix's advanced recommended engine to leverage that early momentum.
Netflix had given Tangen a date for the premiere of Norsemen in its English-language territories. Three weeks before launch, he set up a Facebook advertising campaign, paying for targeted posts and Facebook promotions. The post were fairly straightforward — most included one of six 20- to 25-second clips of the show and a link, either to the show's webpage or to media coverage.
They used A/B testing — showing two versions of a campaign to different audiences and selecting the most successful — to fine-tune. The U.S. campaign cost around $18,500, which Tangen and his production partners put up themselves. Tangen focused the initial campaign in and around major U.S. cities including L.A., New York, Miami, Chicago with additional pushes in three states with large ethnic Norwegian populations. He broke potential Norsemen fans down into seven separate target groups, with each getting its own tailored Facebook campaign.
In just a month, the Norsemen campaign reached 5.5 million Facebook users, generating 2 million video views and some 6,000 followers for the show. Netflix noticed and its algorithm started to kick in. Fans who had become aware of the show through Tangen's campaign began recommending it to their friends. Norsemen started appearing on Netflix's recommendation list. Tangen invested a further $15,000 to promote the show on Facebook worldwide, using what he had learned during the initial U.S. campaign.
When Norsemen came up for a season two renewal, Netflix upped its commitment, making the show a "Netflix Original," meaning more in-house marketing. Season 3 is currently in production and will go out on Netflix worldwide next year. While it might take awhile for Tangen and his producers to recoup their $33,000 back, but it has certainly helped Norsemen and Tangen’s career.
India is known for their fantastical Bollywood movies where there is drama, romance, singing and dancing– a LOT of singing and dancing. But Indian cinema has matured over the years with more realistic storytelling and branching to other genres like thrillers, mysteries – and now science fiction.
In 2014, India sent the Mars Orbiter Mission into space, and became the first country to send a satellite to orbit the Red Plant. The patriotic feeling that followed the Mars mission has fuelled the latest example of Indian space cinema: Mission Mangal, a fictionalized account of the Orbiter Mission, starring and produced by Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar.
Contrary to most Indian films, Kumar, one of the highest-paid actors in the world, says he had long wanted to work with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to bring realism and science to the big screen.
Sci-fi isn’t a new genre in Indian cinema — Kaadu was made in 1952, which was a Tamil-American co-production, and is often considered the kickoff to Indian Science Fiction filmmaking, it has nothing like the profile it has in the United States. It only established itself after the country opened up its economy, allowing the entry of satellite channels and foreign movies, as well as studios such as Disney and Warner into Bollywood production. Before then, what little there was consisted mostly of low-budget fare involving superheroes.
While Hollywood has a long tradition of making more naturalistic films about space travel – from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner and, of course, Star Wars– it’s only now, with the enormous strides in India’s own space exploration, that such films are beginning to resonate with moviegoers.
Another key factor over the last decade has been the boom in India’s visual effects industry – to which Hollywood outsources much of its own special effects – that has enabled higher quality film-making. While the popular Koi … Mil Gaya looked like a bad 80s TV show, it received the National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues, and was screened at the Jerusalem Film Festival and the NatFilm Festival in Denmark. The film garnered the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. It also started a superhero franchise. The fourth instalment is released next year, and each film has exhibited a giant step forward in Bollywood’s use of CGI.
While India might still have a long way to go to catch up to Hollywood, with some high profile space missions, sci-fi is set to become a milestone in Indian cinema.
Just in case you were wondering, there are some major spoiler alerts in this post so you may not want to read it if you haven’t seen writer-director Quentin Tarantino's new movie “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
But first before we dive into it, it’s agreed upon by almost all the critics that this is Tarantino’s masterpiece. It is maybe even better than (gasp) “Pulp Fiction” or “Reservoir Dogs.” (Although probably not as quotable.) So if you haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for? Stop reading and order yourself a ticket.
This film is a dreamy, idealized ode to Old Time Hollywood. The film revolves around Rick Dalton played by Leonardo DiCaprio as an actor who is past his prime. In the late fifties and early sixties, he was the star of a TV Western series called “Bounty Law,” but is now struggling to find roles, always playing the heavy, never the lead role. He is an alcoholic and spends his days wandering from his house on Cielo Drive to studios for the occasional day of filming and to various bars, driven around by his stunt man, Cliff Booth played by Brad Pitt. Cliff too is in decline after he was arrested for murdering his wife, but never convicted. (Whether he actually killed her or not, we never really get to know.) Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, the best known victim of the Manson family. She hardly speaks throughout the film, but does dance and walk around Los Angeles, a lot in slow motion.
The ending is true Tarantino style, albeit slightly re-writing to depart reality. The film takes a notorious bit of Hollywood history and turns it on its head in graphic and brutal fashion. While most of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is relatively violence-free, the ending takes a very brutal turn. You see what happens to the Manson Family members after they take a disliking to Leonardo DiCaprio when he screams and yells at them to get off his road.
The Manson family decide to go after him instead of Sharon Tate. Needless, to say things don't go well for the Manson family members. (Come on, nobody bests Leo or Brad.) Brad Pitt sets his dog on them and Leonardo DiCaprio finishes one of them off with a flamethrower. While this has angered some history buffs who like this sort of things to stick to reality, however, I don’t think most people will be too sorry to see the Manson family get what was coming to them.
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