A daily newsletter guide to what is happening on your screens - TV, streaming, movies, games, VR, AR
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.
Could this be the new future of movies?
Mark Wahlberg leads the charge into a huge new plan to stream movies.
The thinking is that cinemas are dying/becoming less relevant/whatever and that the future of movie distribution lies with streaming. There's been a problem with this line of thinking:
Streamers have proven to be really shit at making movie releases an event.
Most movies come and go from cinemas without a lot of fuss. And a good many of them turn a profit. They'll then find their way into home video/streaming and live on with audiences discovering them eventually. But when we think about movies, we think about the big titles, often starring big name stars. These stars are seen on talk shows, entertainment programs, etc. The launch of a movie is a big deal.
On a streamer - they just appear as a box on screen and there's the hope that cover art and word of mouth will turn that film into the next Bird Box - a film that Netflix tells us was watched by a lot of people.
As HBO Max and Paramount+ enter the streaming space, each are touting movies as a major component of their streaming platforms. Could these companies, with decades (a century!) of movie marketing experience be able to turn streaming movies into event releases?
That's the big question on my mind today as Paramount+ announces that from 2022, the streaming platform will release a movie every week. These films will prop up a substantial library of big name library titles.
“Turning to movies where we are poised to dramatically enhance the scale of our offering,” Bakish said. “In fact, we will shortly kick off a ‘Mountain of Movies’ marketing campaign, where we will highlight the thousands of new movies we are adding to Paramount+, including blockbuster hits and exclusive originals.”
The CEO said 1,000 additional movies will go live on the streamer in early June, “with additional titles following through July, bringing the total to over 2,500.” He added: “Hits like The Avengers and Skyfall will be available on the service soon, as well as a bunch of great Paramount films like Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, Rocketman, Sonic the Hedgehog and more.”
While the streamer is looking to 2022 for its huge event movie plans, it will focus this June on the release of Infinite, a big action film directed byAntoine Fuqua and starringMark Wahlberg and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Paramount+ Down Under
Still no word on when we can expect Paramount+ to launch in Australia - official word is still 'mid-year', but it's worth noting that ViacomCBS is hiring local staff at the moment.
Watch this space.
How much interest is there in a UK Call My Agent remake?
Cast details have emerged for the UK remake of French Netflix hit Call My Agent. Names include:
Tony-nominated actress Lydia Leonard (Absentia) as Rebecca, in a role loosely based on Camille Cottin’s character Andréa Martel; Jack Davenport (Pirates Of The Caribbean) will play Jonathan, in a role loosely based on character Mathias Barneville; Maggie Steed (Chewing Gum) will be Stella; Prasanna Puwanarajah (Patrick Melrose) plays Dan; and newcomers Harry Trevaldwyn (The King) will be Ollie and Hiftu Quasem (Killing Eve) will play Misha.
How much interest is there going to be in this? It made sense in the past to create English language remakes of foreign language series. The appetite simply wasn't there for a lot of foreign language shows to achieve decent audience numbers, which meant there wasn't much in the way of foreign shows being distributed. But following the UK's BBC4 finding an audience for Scandi-Noir series, which then saw the birth of Walter Presents... And then Netflix took this interest global by upping the production quality of dubbed video... It seems now that a substantial audience is seeing a lot of shows they previously didn't have access to.
Who is the audience for Call My Agent UK at this stage? Maybe they can find a compelling, unique way into it. But mostly this just feels like reheated leftovers.
Billy Crudup will lead new Apple TV+ show Hello Tomorrow!. But wait - isn't he currently starring on Apple TV's The Morning Show? Hmmm. Read: TV Line
A Little Late with Lilly Singh has been cancelled after 2 seasons. It is as if NBC has realised making a show for 1:30am every morning doesn't make a lot of sense anymore. Read: TV Line
Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola has directed a new 24 minute promotional film for the New York City Ballet. You can read about it via the NYT and watch it in a couple of hours when it premieres on YouTube.
Twitter has announced video partnerships including a deal with NBC to provide Olympics content, such as new show Talkin’ Tokyo with host Adam Rippon. Read: Social Media Today
iCarly will return to TV via Paramount+ in June. Read: The Wrap
Ali Wong has joined the cast of the highly anticipated (by me) Amazon series Paper Girls. Read: Variety
Filming crowd scenes may have changed forever. Thanks COVID.
This is a really interesting video from Insider which looks at how the production team of Ted Lasso created background crowd scenes for the football matches in the show.
Lost Romero film to debut on Shudder
The Amusement Park is a 1973 feature by legendary horror director George A Romero. The plot has an elderly gentleman visiting an amusement park, only to find himself in the middle of a hellish nightmare instead.
It was originally commissioned by the Lutheran Society, which wanted to create a film to raise awareness about ageism and elder abuse. Plot twist: they opted not to allow the film to be released.
This new 4k restoration of the long lost movie is set to start streaming on Shudder from June 8.
Gutfeld! is killing a Jimmy
New Fox News nightly talkshow Gutfeld! screens nightly at 11pm. It was intended as an alternative to the news discussion heavy alternatives on the other news channels, but it has also made a dent into the traditional late night comedy shows too. Throughout the past month, it has outrated The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
From April 5 to May 3:
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (11:35pm). Average 1.991 million total viewers | 402,000 25-54 demo
Jimmy Kimmel Live (11pm). Average 1.579 million | 411,000 25-54 demo
Gutfeld! (11pm). Average 1.515 million | 305,000 25-54 demo
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (11:35pm). 1.395 million | 416,000 25-54 demo
Where Fallon still leads comfortably is with the 18-49 demo (315,000 viewers). It's still early with this new competitive voice), but with networks re-adjusting the chairs and adjusting to embrace new streaming channels, don't be too conservative when thinking about what NBC may do with late night line-up.
Stranger Things 4 debuts... sometime soon.
Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In debuts on Amazon Prime Video May 29.
What's next? Tomorrow.
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