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Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
Coming 2 America goes straight to streaming
ALSO: Disney re-organise. AND: RIP Two & a Half Men's Conchata Ferrell.
The mouse reorganises it’s house
In a move not entirely dissimilar to recent moves by new WarnerMedia chief Jason Kilar, new Disney chief Bob Chapek has announced a reorganization of the company. It will now seperate into three different divisions that will focus on content, and a fourth that will handle its distribution.
Most media commentary on the move has suggested that this is being done to prioritise Disney+. That’s only true to an extent, but it doesn’t really paint the full picture.
The entertainment industry is in a period of transition. Cable linear TV is dying a dramatic death, cinema exhibition is likely in its last leg, and there has been the rise of direct to consumer streaming services led by Netflix, but with Disney+ a strong second. What this move does is it enables the company to be more nimble in where it distributes content. As distribution channels offer less revenue opportunities, the new approach will enable the company to ease out of that sector without massive disruption internally. It also eliminates a silo approach to distribution which has roles doubled up across different channels.
The new distribution team will determine whether content is seen in theaters, cable, broadcast, or on one of the company’s streaming platforms - Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ or the soon-to-launch Star (an international service).
While yes it is true that Disney+ will eventually become the centerpiece of Disney’s distribution strategy, it isn’t quite there just yet.
Investor Dan Loeb has called for Disney to invest more in original content for Disney+, chasing the Netflix model of producing a large volume of new content to increase audience engagement. The question I ask there is: why? There is a presumption that the Netflix model is the right one to emulate, but there’s still no evidence that the Netflix model will work in the longterm? It’s not as if Netflix is turning around profits yet with its massive content spend. Disney, with globally recognised IP and audience loyalty already built into its content, can probably play things a little differently and still post monster profits.
In filings released on Tuesday, US chain AMC Theatres has revealed it may run out of money by the end of this year or early 2021. This is what happens when there’s both a) no movies of size to screen; and b) reluctant audiences due to the pandemic.
AMC report that attendance at the 494 of its 598 US locations is down approximately 85%.
It has been baffling to me why Netflix persisted with its 30-day free trial deal after so long. Surely the hype and brand recognition is so big now that the company can on-board new customers with no need to lure them with a trial.
The trial ended in Australia back in March and now the US has followed suit.
Conchata Ferrell is best known for her role as Berta on the show Two and a Half Men for which she received two Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy nominations in (2005 and 2007). Ferrell had an extensive career on stage and was also seen in shows including Good Times, E/R, Grace and Frankie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and BJ and The Bear. She died at the age of 77 following a cardiac arrest. Ferrell is survived by her husband Arnie Anderson and daughter Samantha.
It seemed a little strange to me that there wasn’t yet a poster or trailer for Coming 2 America, the sequel to the Eddie Murphy 1988 classic Coming To America.
It’s because Paramount Pictures has been true to form and been busy looking to sell the movie to another distributor. In a deal worth $125 million, it has been sold to Amazon Prime Video which will debut the film on Dec 18 via the streaming service.
In typical US trades reporting there is no indication as to whether this will be a global acquisition, or whether the film will be released by other companies internationally.
In the sequel, Prince Akeem is set to become king of the fictional country of Zamunda when he discovers he has a son he never knew about in America — a street-savvy Queens native named Lavelle. To honor the former king’s dying wish to groom his grandson as the crown prince, Akeem and Semmi set off to America. Murphy, Hall and Jones are reprising their roles. The film stars Jermaine Fowler and supporting cast includes Tracy Morgan and Jay Pharaoh.
The final season of Shameless (US) will debut Dec 6. Source: thefutoncritic
Will Angelos Frangopoulos take his Sky News Australia formula and apply it to the new UK talk news channel GB News? Read: The Guardian
In an era where smart culture is now cool, US public broadcaster PBS is struggling. Source: NYT
ViacomCBS is rolling out a No Diversity No Commission policy worldwide. Source: TV Tonight
iPhone’s have been increasingly used by filmmakers and the new phones announced this morning will improve this practice dramatically. Source: Dark Horizons
On Disney+ all non Marvel MCU films are now labelled as Marvel Legacy Films. Source: Dark Horizons
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Stan announce Christmas movie
Aussie streamer Stan today announced the original film A Sunburnt Christmas. It’ll debut before Christmas 2020.
It will be directed by Bondi Hipsters’ Christiaan Van Vuuren and is filming now in South Australia.
A Sunburnt Christmas is a wild, hilarious and heartfelt story about a single mum and her kids doing it tough on their outback farm until a runaway criminal dressed as Santa Claus crashes into their property and their lives.
In the lead role as Daryl the kindly crim, Daniel Henshall (Snowtown, Bloom, Acute Misfortune) is mistaken for the real Santa by the young and fearless Daisy, played by incredible new talent Lena Nankivell.
There’s a wedding in season 4 of The Crown which debuts on Netflix November 15.
A full-length trailer for new David E Kelley show Big Sky debuting November 17.
I’m Your Woman is a feature film debuting Dec 11.
In this 1970s set crime drama, a woman is forced to go on the run after her husband betrays his partners, sending her and her baby on a dangerous journey.
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