The trailer for doco The Last Blockbuster has been released. The documentary chronicles the closure of the final Blockbuster video store.
"It started last year, and there were still a dozen or so Blockbuster locations left," director Taylor Morden told me when the film was in production in 2018. "We started filming this thing and I thought, 'It's a cool story, there's not many of these stores left, and we'll maybe start watching as one by one they start closing.' And that did happen and then it got sprung on us that the one here in Bend, Orgeon, where we live, is going to be the very last one left, and that gave us a sense of urgency and a renewed sense that this was going to be a great story. Yeah, we were already working on it, but the story has changed since then."
A release date is still TBA. Try not to let the inclusion of talking head Kevin Smith put you off watching it.
Covid-19: City Under Siege
At this stage, it’s easiest to just assume that production on every US TV show is currently suspended due to concerns around the coronavirus. The cost of all of these shutdowns is going to cost Hollywood billions.
You can find a lengthy (regularly updated) list of all the shows that have shut down production over at Deadline. A few notable inclusions are The Handmaid’s Tale, WandaVision, Loki, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and General Hospital.
Worth considering amid this is the impact that the shutdowns are having on the pilot season which is underway. If the shutdown lasts more than a few weeks, greenlit pilots will likely be junked. What was unique about this year was the number of shows that were greenlit direct to series.
A number of them, including Call Me Kat, The Big Sky and Superman & Lois, were planning to film a pilot episode during pilot season, take a break to assess it before starting series production. I hear most of the shows will now go straight to series production.
Between the projects with firm and blinking series orders, the networks have enough of a cushion to reduce their dependance on pilots. Some observers believe that in the end, the networks won’t necessarily make all pilots ordered this season, with the probability rising the longer the delay lasts. (They will pay off everyone involved.)
An interesting hiccup is the production shut down of the show Superstore. Initially the show was to release 22 episodes this season, but will shut down this week with its 21st episode now serving as the season finale. Not a big deal generally, but series star America Ferrera was exiting the show permanently with the 22nd episode. Will she appear in an episode next year, or will she now be written out off-screen?
I’m a Saturday morning cinema warrior. Every Saturday you’ll find me at the movies. This past weekend there was very little that I was excited about. Do I go and see the Ben Affleck film The Way Back, which I only kind-of want to see? Or do I do the corona-smart thing and stay at home and watch 12 episodes of The Office? Dunder-Mifflin won out.
It appears lots of people made a similar devision. In the US the box office was the lowest it has been since, presumably, the 1980s when independent ticketing data was collected.
That didn’t stop audiences for faith-based drama I Still Believe, which collected $9.5 million from 3,250 theaters. It sold the most tickets.
Aussie entertainment presenter Richard Wilkins has tested positive for COVID-19. It’s an interesting time in the media - it doesn’t matter if you’re on-screen or working behind the scenes, you’re often invited to a lot of industry events and are obliged to be socialble. That previously meant a lot of shaking hands and hugs with a lot of people you don’t really know.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the sector hit pretty hard.