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.
How much to stay in a Star Wars hotel? | PLUS: Secret Roger Rabbit. | AND: Another new streaming service.
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett who is feeling quite cromulent.
How much would you spend to stay in a Star Wars hotel for a fully immersive experience? $100,000? $200,000? It’ll probably be between $1400-$3300 per night (not cheap).
Located in the Californian Disney theme park, the hotel will be called Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Visitors, once they check into the lobby, will find themselves in a Starcruiser populated with actors in costumes who will offer to bring you into their stories.
Disney is comparing the experience to a cruise ship, but when you look out the window, don’t expect to see your natural surroundings. Instead, you’ll see an ever-changing view of the galaxy from each portal in the "spacecraft".
Like a cruise ship, there are activities that a person can sign up for like lightsaber training, and lessons in ship mechanics.
It disgusts me how much I want to plonk down money to do this.
Collider has a good deep dive on why we never saw a Who Framed Roger Rabbit sequel, Steven Spielberg’s unhappiness with the way Disney didn’t support him on Arachnophobia with a Roger Rabbit short film, and the availability of the film now on Disney+.
People with a bunch of digital video files may be familiar with Plex. Once installed on your computer or device connected to the TV, you just select a destination on your home network filled with video and audio files and it’ll create a library on screen for you with artwork and information. It turns your home video library into a Netflix-like experience.
It’s just taken a big step towards legitimacy with the launch of an advertising supported video library that will also stream through Plex. It has launched in 200 countries.
Along with Warner film and TV titles, the offering includes properties from the Lionsgate, MGM and Legendary libraries. The film-skewing roster includes Evil Dead, The Terminator and American Ultra.
Feb 7. That’s when you can see the new season of HBO’s High Maintenance.
The Viacom / CBS merger is finalised today and it is set to have significant ramifications throughout Hollywood and may also impact international territories like Australia and the UK where the companies have a presence. In August, it was suggested that the merger may result in $500 million worth of savings (re: layoffs and consolidation of services).
The questions I have about what happens next:
Even combined, ViacomCBS still doesn’t have the scale of Netflix/Disney/WarnerMedia - will it soon make a play to buy up another entertainment company (likely one with a sizeable library of existing content)? Or will it become the target of acquisition itself?
What does ViacomCBS do with its Showtime and CBS All Access content? Both brands are taking bites out of the same pie. Does that become a combined service? To me that seems likely if only just to streamline operations - a CBS All Access service that has broadcast CBS content, Showtime content, and originals is a service that is going to make a much bigger impact in the market. It’d certainly be significantly more attractive for consumers.
Will bringing CBS content to Pluto TV also bring with it an increased prestige? Right now Pluto TV is a streaming platform that offers a cable TV-like experience. But that experience is filled with low-end and cheap programming. Will it boost that by adding in some channels with premium titles and promotional stunts? For example, I could imagine a Pluto TV pop-up channel streaming the Magnum PI reboot series ahead of a season return for the show.
Over at Mediaweek James Manning has a chat with Julian Ogrin from Australian streaming sports service Kayo.
People rushing to subscribe to Kayo just before a big match is something it can handle. “We have built a platform that can handle tens of thousands of sign-ups in minutes,” said Ogrin. “Not every game drives that, but we have gone through a couple of different World Cups and have experienced high volumes of sign-ups prior to an event and our system has managed it beautifully.”
Don Cheadle was set to star in a spin-off to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air back in the day. It would have been based on the character he played, Ice Tray, from the first season of the show.
"By the middle of our shooting — 'cause ... it's shot in front of a live audience, so you come to a table read Monday, Tuesday rehearse, Wednesday rehearse, Thursday do it in front of a live audience — so, by that Thursday, the producers said, 'We actually want to do a spin-off around your character.' And we shot a whole pilot. Didn't get picked up."