Netflix Invests $520 Million to Make Three Big-Budget Films

According to sources, Netflix will spend $520+ million to make three movies, although none of them are likely to get a wide theatrical release. This month, Netflix committed almost $200 million to make the action movie “Red Notice,” with Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot. The company has stated that one-third of its 150 million subscribers are drawn to its movies, with TV accounting for the rest. New movie productions, it hopes, will help retain current viewers and attract new ones. Continue reading Netflix Invests $520 Million to Make Three Big-Budget Films

Rotten Tomatoes Adjusts Its Review Model to Combat Trolls

To better combat online trolls who have recently been waging campaigns to affect audience ratings for certain movies, Fandango-owned Rotten Tomatoes is making a significant change to its review submission model. Since the influential website relies upon credible ratings, “review bombing” that adversely impacts audience ratings is seen as a major issue. In order to minimize such a potential flood of negative reviews, users will no longer be permitted to post any audience reviews until the film in question appears in theaters. Continue reading Rotten Tomatoes Adjusts Its Review Model to Combat Trolls

Apple, Goldman Sachs Issue Credit Card Linked to iPhones

In the next few weeks, Apple and Goldman Sachs Group will issue a joint credit card for testing to employees, for a launch later in 2019. The card will offer consumers features on Apple’s Wallet app that will allow them to track their balances and rewards as well as set spending goals, said sources. With the card, Apple makes a major move into iPhone users’ finances. For Goldman Sachs, the card is part of a strategy to appeal to ordinary consumers. Neither company, however, has much experience in this arena. Continue reading Apple, Goldman Sachs Issue Credit Card Linked to iPhones

Dropbox, Google and Sony Debut Tech at Sundance Festival

At the Sundance Film Festival, tech companies now pitch new tools to the M&E industry. This year, Dropbox is offering a time-based commenting feature for video files, and Google and Sony are open-sourcing a tool that will simplify cloud rendering. Dropbox’s new feature will aid audio and video review by adding time-based commenting. Google, in partnership with Sony Picture Imageworks, will introduce OpenCue, which breaks down rendering steps and then schedules and manages the job across rendering farms. Continue reading Dropbox, Google and Sony Debut Tech at Sundance Festival

Best Buy to End CD Sales, While Target Adjusts Sales Model

Physical CDs are still selling well, although the U.S. has seen sales down by 18.5 percent. But Best Buy and Target have just taken steps that may hasten the demise of physical media. Best Buy, which was once the biggest music seller in the U.S., has told its music suppliers that it plans to pull CDs from its stores on July 1. The company will continue to carry vinyl records for two years, fulfilling a promise made to vendors. Meanwhile, Target is now telling music suppliers it will sell CDs on a consignment basis. The move would also impact sales of movies, TV shows and other video content on DVD. Continue reading Best Buy to End CD Sales, While Target Adjusts Sales Model

Netflix Dominance Pushing Studios to Earlier Release Window

Big spending digital players Netflix and Amazon are shaking up traditional TV stalwarts. Netflix is expected to spend $6 billion on original and acquired programming this year, up $1 billion from last year. That figure is five times more than what cable outlets FX (owned by 21st Century Fox) and Showtime (owned by CBS Corp.) spend and more than twice that spent by Time Warner’s premium channel HBO. TV actors are demanding $250,000 an episode, twice their previous rate, and there’s a feeding frenzy for A-list below-the-line crews. Continue reading Netflix Dominance Pushing Studios to Earlier Release Window

AMC Employs Digital Watermarking to Pinpoint and Halt Piracy

AMC Networks is the latest Hollywood company to adopt digital watermarking to protect its shows — chief among them “The Walking Dead” — from digital piracy, especially before the episodes air on TV. AMC has said it plans to use Civolution’s NexGuard to embed watermarks on a list of its original shows, also including “Better Call Saul” and “Humans.” The watermarking would take place at its New York production/distribution facilities, where the technology will be implemented as software plug-ins for its transcoders. Continue reading AMC Employs Digital Watermarking to Pinpoint and Halt Piracy

‘Star Wars’ Smashes Box Office, Rallies Blockbuster Strategy

On its opening weekend, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” demolished box office records — as well as the trope that crowds no longer throng to movie theaters, even in the first days. The Walt Disney Company’s latest “Star Wars” movie brought in about $517 million globally, a success that is stunning in its size and scope, and that underscores Hollywood studios’ efforts to focus on repurposing the blockbuster, from “Avatar” to “Frozen.” According to Disney, 3D screenings account for 47 percent of the gross. Continue reading ‘Star Wars’ Smashes Box Office, Rallies Blockbuster Strategy

MPAA’s MovieTube Suit Tries New Legal Tack to Block Pirates

Members of the Motion Picture Association of America have filed a lawsuit against MovieTube — “the search engine for free movies” — and third parties to force the disabling of sites providing access to pirated films including, recently, Disney’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which is still in movie theaters. MPAA attorneys are trying another legal maneuver to hold third party ISPs responsible. This comes three years after the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was not passed by lawmakers, dealing Hollywood studios a blow in their efforts to thwart content thieves. Continue reading MPAA’s MovieTube Suit Tries New Legal Tack to Block Pirates

Paramount Shortens Release Date from Movie Theater to DVD

Paramount Pictures has inked a deal with two major theater chains to release two upcoming films on DVD just two weeks after they leave theaters, a significant change to the traditional schedule. Since the 1980s, and the advent of the VCR, studios have waited at least 90 days, so this new deal marks a real break with the status quo. The Viacom-owned movie studio has partnered with AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and Canada’s Cineplex Inc., two of North America’s largest exhibitors. Continue reading Paramount Shortens Release Date from Movie Theater to DVD

Movie Trailers Popular on YouTube, Mobile Viewing on the Rise

According to an Ipsos study commissioned by Google, younger moviegoers are more inclined to watch movie trailers on YouTube than on television. While 54 percent of respondents age 13-24 indicated they are more likely to watch trailers via YouTube, an impressive 65 percent said that trailers they watch on YouTube will influence what films they end up seeing in theaters. In addition, a related study from Google and Millward Brown Digital found that 81 percent of moviegoers age 18-64 who watch movie trailers online turn to YouTube as well. Continue reading Movie Trailers Popular on YouTube, Mobile Viewing on the Rise

DEG Numbers Point to SVOD Growth, Physical Disc Decline

According to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, U.S. consumer spending for Q3 2014 was an estimated $3.92 billion, down 1.2 percent from the same quarter last year. Consumer spending on DVDs and Blu-ray Discs combined was down 8 percent in the quarter, while electronic sell-through grew 26 percent. Transaction VOD was down almost 7 percent; however, spending on subscription VOD, such as Netflix streaming, saw an increase of more than 26 percent for the first nine months of the year. Continue reading DEG Numbers Point to SVOD Growth, Physical Disc Decline

‘Twilight’ Coming to Facebook, Netflix Unveils Exclusive Deals

Lionsgate and “Twilight” creator Stephenie Meyer announced plans to distribute a series of short films exclusively via Facebook. Five aspiring female directors will be hired to produce mini-movies based on the “Twilight” characters. Meanwhile, Netflix announced a new original series for kids, the animated “Kong: King of the Apes,” in addition to an exclusive four-picture deal with Adam Sandler. Netflix is also dealing with a potential exhibition boycott after announcing the sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Continue reading ‘Twilight’ Coming to Facebook, Netflix Unveils Exclusive Deals

Filmmakers Lobby Hollywood Studios to Help Save Kodak Film

A coalition of Hollywood studios is reportedly close to a deal that will help keep Eastman Kodak in the business of manufacturing film stock, despite the entertainment industry’s move to digital production. Prior to the studios’ promise to keep purchasing film, Kodak was considering closing its manufacturing facility in Rochester, New York. Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Judd Apatow and J.J. Abrams were among the notable filmmakers who reportedly lobbied studio heads to save film. Continue reading Filmmakers Lobby Hollywood Studios to Help Save Kodak Film

Movie Studios Turn to the Internet: Are We Ready to Bid Farewell to the DVD?

  • Hollywood studios are responding to the 40 percent drop in home entertainment sales by recognizing that the future may heavily rely upon ramping up Internet delivery businesses.
  • According to the Los Angeles Times: “Across Hollywood, a quiet revolution is brewing that’s about to transform living rooms around the world… In the next few years, the growing number of consumers with Internet-connected televisions, tablets and smartphones will face a dizzying array of options designed to make digital movie consumption a lot more convenient and to entice users to spend more money.”
  • “It’s now critical that we experiment as much as possible and determine how to build a vibrant market for collecting digital movies,” says David Bishop, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment division.
  • Studios may be eager to change, but have yet to determine how it can be effectively accomplished with a uniform approach. As a result, the immediate future will most likely see an expanded but confusing selection of options for consumers.
  • The article looks at some of these potential options including premium VOD, cloud computing, UltraViolet’s “virtual locker,” new offerings from Apple’s iTunes and sharing movies via Facebook.

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