The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled the Academy Awards to allow films released only on streaming platforms to be eligible for Oscar nominations, as social distancing measures have caused the closure of movie theatres across the world and disrupted to the traditional film selection process.
The Academy’s move is the latest sign of the upheaval caused by the pandemic, which has caused highly anticipated blockbusters to be delayed, high profile film festivals to be cancelled, and theatre closures.
The change in rules will only apply to next year’s Oscars and while the Academy plans to make the 93rd Oscars an acceptation, what with the growing campaigning from companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Apple have, it might prove tough to revert back. These companies have recently gained industry muscle over the last couple of years and once they have gained traction, they are not likely to give it up easily in a notoriously staunch town.
Before the pandemic, the Academy Awards required a film be shown in a theater in Los Angeles County of at least seven consecutive days, during which period screenings must occur at least three times daily.
To meet these requirements, Netflixs had to hire out a theatre for Martin Scorsese latest streaming-only film, The Irishman, in order to make it eligible for Oscar nominations.
To make it easier for distributors to meet theatrical exhibition requirements when theatres reopen, the Academy also will expand the number of qualifying theaters beyond Los Angeles County to include venues in additional US metropolitan areas including New York, the Bay Area, Chicago, Miami, and Atlanta.
With so many people out of work and with time on their hands, you can bet that more people are turning to films and television shows to fill their spare time.
But sooner than we think, we’re going to run into a big problem. Because of COVID-19, there simply isn’t enough new content being produced.
Film productions are shut down. Actors are quarantining themselves. The hundreds of people it takes to produce a film cannot go near each other. Nothing is being made, and no one knows when this might change.
This unfortunately means Hollywood’s production pipeline, which has been clogged with projects these past few years, will soon be completely dry. For the most part, we are stuck with whatever movies we have.
Which isn’t to say that there aren’t new movies available. Thankfully, there are some ready-to-go features, thanks to the summer movie season which is historically filled with blockbuster releases.
However, the big film studios are still holding their breath, hoping and praying that things will go back to normal by Summer. The problem is that even if the lockdown is lifted, things will be anything but normal.
Some of the big budget films like Wonder Woman 1984, the new James Bond: No Time To Die, have been completed but are in limbo, depending on what happens with the pandemic.
The question then becomes in this new reality, whether Hollywood needs to further break its own business model and release more movies digitally rather than holding out hope for a theatrical premiere.
How long will the release of these films be mired in uncertainty, thus prolonging the studios return on their investment?
Quibi is the hot new streaming app made exclusively for mobile phones. It is designed for short-form entertainment and founded by DreamWorks executive Jeffrey Katzenberg who has attracted big-name filmmakers including Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, and Steven Soderbergh.
If you’ve followed Katzenberg’s career, you know he never does anything small – $1 billion in finance to be precise – so it’s probably worth checking Quibi out. But what is this exciting new app all about and how exactly do we use it?
“Quibi” stands for “quick bites” – that is, very short-form content that is easily consumable in one sitting. The shows are designed for millennials, the social media generation.
Like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, it will provide original content but instead of presenting feature-length films or episodes that generally run around an hour or two hours long, Quibi specializing in content built for quick consumption. Quibi’s episodes are ten minutes or less and movies are broken down into chapters that act more like episodes.
These episodes won’t likely be coming to a screen bigger than your mobile device – at least any time soon – so don’t expect any Quibi content to appear at next year’s Academy Awards. But depending on how successful the platform is, Quibi will likely try to expand and experiment with other forms of storytelling.
How Much Does It Cost?
The app has two payment tiers, $4.99/ a month with short ads, and $7.99/ a month without them. At the moment, you can get a 90-day free trial if you sign up by April 30.
Ads come in the form of unskippable pre-rolls, kind of like what you find on YouTube. This makes them almost impossible to block with an adblocker, but at least they won’t be interrupting your viewing session. It’s likely, down the road, Quibi will do in-stream ads as the platform becomes more popular but at the moment it’s only an educated guess.
You probably know that Hollywood has the habit of making two similar films in a year. But did you know that there is an actual term for it? That’s right, “Twin Films” is even a Wikipedia entry.
These movies have virtually identical plots and are usually released within months of each other. With so many scripts being shopped around Hollywood on a constant basis, you would think that there would be more original ideas and these “Twin Films” wouldn’t happen as often.
It’s clear, though, that when it comes to “Twin Films” there is always one film that comes out on top and usually by a large margin.! If you don’t believe me, just check out the box office earnings for these films that came out the same year and told the same damn story!
THE EQUALIZER | JOHN WICK — 2014
Sony / Lionsgate
The Equalizer Box Office: $101,530,738
John Wick Box Office: $43,037,835
The films have completely different types of leading men: Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves. But at their heart, these films have identical plots. Both movies focus on men trying to leave their dark, pasts behind, but (of course) tragic events draw them back into the life. (Okay so not the most original plot lines.) The Equalizer made a bit more money but surprising John Wick has slowly gained a huge following and both films have spawned an extremely popular franchises
OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN | WHITE HOUSE DOWN — 2013
FilmDistrict / Sony
Olympus Has Fallen Box Office: $98,925,640
White House Down Box Office: $73,103,784
When you watch the trailers for these two films it’s almost impossible to tell them apart. Disgraced men save the President while kicking some bad guy ass. The only difference is the actors they put in each film. Channing Tatum in White House Down and Gerard Butler in Olympus Has Fallen. Or is it the other way around? Who knows! Both films performed fairly well, but Olympus Has Fallen clearly got the edge, making slightly more money and a sequel.
NO STRINGS ATTACHED | FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS — 2011
Paramount / Sony
No Strings Attached Box Office: $70,662,220
Friends With Benefits Box Office: $55,802,754
Both movies are about a man and a woman who get sick of relationships and decide to get into a “friends with benefits” relationship and keep things strictly sexual. Obviously in typical Hollywood romance style, it doesn’t work out and they end up falling for each other in each film. Aside from the location, the jobs, and a few lines here and there, they are the exact same movie. Seriously. You could replace Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman and nobody would know the difference. Probably not even the directors.
MEGAMIND | DESPICABLE ME — 2010
Paramount / Universal
Megamind Box Office: $148,415,853
Despicable Me Box Office: $251,513,985
There are some fundamental differences between these two films but they’re both about one simple thing: a bad guy becoming a good guy. The only big difference is how each villain turns themselves around and what their motivation is. Though both films made a good amount of money, it’s Despicable Me that has spawned an insane amount of sequels and spin-offs and given the world the popular and adorable minions!
THE PRESTIGE | THE ILLUSIONIST — 2006
Buena Vista / Yari Film Group
The Prestige Box Office: $53,089,891
The Illusionist Box Office: $39,868,642
The two films both follow the lives of late Nineteenth Century magicians. The Christian Bale fronted film not only made more money but is undoubtedly the one people look back upon fondly whereas no one really remembers The Illusionist exists. While the plots differed a bit, it turns out audiences could only deal with one magical film that year.
ARMAGEDDON | DEEP IMPACT — 1998
Twin Films Movies With Basically The Same Plot Released In The Same Year government
Armageddon Box Office: $201,578,182
Deep Impact Box Office: $140,464,664
Both films tell the story of a doomed earth with a deadly asteroid heading straight for it. The big difference? Everyone remembers Armageddon, especially for Aerosmith’s hit song “I Don’t’ want To Miss A Thing.” There were minor differences but at their core, the two films were about the same exact thing. Clearly, fans responded to their fave telling of the story at the box office!
ANTZ | A BUG’S LIFE — 1998
DreamWorks / Buena Vista
Antz Box Office: $90,757,863
A Bug’s Life Box Office: $162,798,565
Both films follow the journey of an ant to save his colony from destruction from some villainous presence. There are some fundamental differences, though, between the two films. Antz is a Woody Allen film and gets a little intense for a kids film. A Bug’s Life, on the other hand, is a Disney-Pixar film with a bit of a lighter feel and bunch of different types of fun bugs. The fight that erupted between the two studios was epic which was documented in the book “The Men Who Would Be King”. The clear winner here was A Bug’s Life, which netted way more money and a Oscar nomination.
JEZEBEL | GONE WITH THE WIND — 1939 & 1939
Warner Bros./Loews Inc.
Jezebel Box Office: No box office data
Gone With The Wind Box Office: $198,676,459
This just goes to show that the “Twin Film” phenomenon is not a new invention. Gone With the Wind is, without a doubt, the highest grossing film of all time if you adjust for inflation. For the ‘30s it did insane numbers, numbers that are higher than many movies today.That movie and Jezebel both told stories about rebellious southern women during the Civil War era and were intentionally similar. After Bette Davis lost out for the main role on “Gone With the Wind,” producers created Jezebel just for her. Too bad for Davis, her film was completely overshadowed by the beloved Gone With the Wind and we’re going to be honest, we didn’t even know Jezebel existed because its twin is such a classic.
Alibaba Pictures, the film production arm of Alibaba Group, is working to tokenize distribution rights for some of its new film projects, including ‘Striding Into The Wind’. The company has signed an agreement with decentralized entertainment company Breaker to distribute the film overseas via its blockchain platform, Ethereum.
Alibaba has had mixed results producing films, and in an effort to maximize profits, Alibaba Pictures is distributing ‘Striding Into The Wind’’’ beyond China’s borders. To facilitate this, Alibaba Pictures is utilizing blockchain to tokenize the distribution rights of the film.
How Will Blockchain Change the Global Film Industry?
The film industry is just one of many, which stands to be turned on its head through the infusion of blockchain technology. Primarily, the effects will be in the way films are financed. Typically, a relatively low number of conglomerates can finance the big blockbuster films, as it is an expensive endeavour that typically costs in the millions. With special effects and movie star’s salaries, it not unreasonable for a film to cost over a hundred million dollars just to produce. This results in a restrictive environment for smaller projects. Understandably, film financers are looking for a return on their investment in an industry that may seem like gambling to many.
Although it’s an astonishing accomplishment, we really shouldn’t be surprised that Disney+, the new streaming service hit 10 million subscribers only a day after the streaming service launched, sending shares soaring in spite of technical glitches at roll-out.
By comparison, Netflix has 60 million U.S. subscribers and 158 million globally. So does that mean Netflix is looking over its shoulder? They are probably nervous since Disney is home to Marvel, Star Wars and classic animated films like Cinderella, Lion King, and Toy Story. But Disney is not going to rest on its laurels. They have dozens of new series out of the gate.
In April the company said it plans to reach 60 million to 90 million Disney+ subscribers globally by 2024. Despite reports of technical glitches, many customers signed up with no problem, and viewers were buzzing about 'The Mandalorian,' making it a top trending topic on Twitter as Viewers were trying to decipher the meaning of a surprise twist at the end of the first episode. ‘The Mandalorian’ is set in the Star Wars universe and is about a bounty hunter’s adventures in the outer galaxies, far from the New Republic’s authority.
Disney is continuing its mining of old properties for live-action films as the studio has begun development on a new adaptation of the popular 1980s cartoon Inspector Gadget.
The film is being produced by Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich, the team behind this year’s box office smash Aladdin and is being scripted by Saturday Night Live writers Mikey Day and Streeter Seidell.
The cartoon followed the adventures of its wacky protagonist, a bionic detective who has access to an array of gadgets in his body, only to struggle to command control of them as he bumbles his way through every case. His frequent nemesis was the mysterious Dr. Claw and the evil organization M.A.D. while being assisted by his niece Penny and the family dog Brain. The cartoon was clearly a spoof of both Inspector Clouseau and James Bond.
Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons. He just signed a new restrictive law, effectively prohibiting abortions after a heartbeat can be detected, which is usually in the first six weeks of pregnancy. In contrast, in other States the limit can be upward of twenty-four weeks, although that too can vary.
This law has angered many people in Hollywood. With its generous tax incentives, Georgia has become a filmmaking hub, hosting blockbuster films such as Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” and shows such as Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”
Executives from both Netflix and Disney have gone on record that they would reconsider filming in Georgia if the government passed their abortion bill. Adding to the chorus are NBCUniversal, CBS/Showtime, and WarnerMedia, the AT&T-owned parent of Warner Bros., HBO and Atlanta-based CNN.
To be clear, each company has put out statements with carefully-worded language – the type that was put together by a bunch of lawyers. None of the corporations has actually committed to boycotting Georgia, but only to reconsider putting money into the State. In effect, they’ve only said they will potentially take action if the law survives what are expected to be significant court challenges.
Warner Bros’s statement suggests it will rethink only “new” productions in Georgia, saying nothing of projects that are currently filming in the State or are already committed to doing so. It’s a far cry from the full-on boycott some Hollywood activists have demanded. Yet, the various statements represent a notable shift, or at least a breaking of the silence.
If you have seen the trailer for the new Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix, you know it's not your average comic book film with the good guy swooping in to save the world. It is an in-depth character study about a depressed, lonely man who has trouble relating to people, especially to the women in his life who he dearly wants to impress.
The Joker has always been one of DC Comics most favourite villains, having been played multiple times by some of Hollywood's most legendary actors. Jack Nicholson played him in the 90s. Mark Hamill voiced him in the illustrated version. Health Ledger took him to a whole new level in the Christopher Nolan Batman series. How will Joaquin Phoenix's version stack up against all these past performances? Well, the film is all the buzz at this years' Toronto International Film Festival and there is talk that Phoenix will earn an Oscar nomination.
In the past, the Joker had no origin story. According to some versions, Joker is a failed clown who just had a bad run of things but he really has no history. Director Todd Phillips origin movie attempts to correct this but this has led to quite a diverse opinion and even controversy on social media.
With the Toronto Film Festival wrapping up, the film industry is looking at ramping up their Oscar campaigns in the industry's biggest night of the year. As hardcore film buff knows, it takes a lot of hard work to win an Oscar. However, what you may not know is that it also takes an incredible amount of money -- and I mean a LOT of money -- to run one of these campaigns. In fact, sometimes, the price of winning is more than a film's budget.
How Much Does It Cost To Win A Oscar?
Securing an Academy Award isn't cheap. The best picture, best director, best actor and actress, and best support actor and actress are the five most prestigious categories and can add a significant boost to their box office draw. Studios usually spend anywhere between $3 million and $10 million to try to secure votes for Best Picture – and that’s just one category. That’s a lot of money for a statue.
Why Does It Cost So Much?
In the perfect world, an Oscar-nominated movie would win an Academy Award based solely on its artistic merit. But of course, human psychology comes into play and film studios aren't afraid to go out to promote their films and feed large egos.
Some estimates for the total amount Hollywood studios spends on Oscar campaigns range between $100 million right up to $500 million in a single year. That's a lot of money, you might say, so how is it spent?
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