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.
Netflix stages fan event. And you're invited!
Netflix want you to leave netflix.com and watch promotional content to get you watching more netflix.com
Back in the time of yore, Hollywood discovered that it could co-opt fan events like Comic-Con to promote upcoming fan-friendly movies and TV shows. Then the pandemic hit and it dawned on Hollywood that it could save some money and generate more buzz by just going straight to consumers by staging streaming video events.
And so, say hello to Tudum - a global fan event for Netflix. Yes, Tudum is a funny name - say it out loud. You'll get it. I'm just waiting for the HBO fan event Qrshhhhhhh.
It takes place Sept 25. Netflix 'fans' can watch via Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, and tudum.com - but interestingly, not on the biggest subscription streaming platform in the world.
Over 70 films and series will be featured throughout the three-hour TUDUM event - including some of our most popular returning seasons like Stranger Things, Bridgerton, The Witcher, La Casa De Papel (Money Heist) and Cobra Kai, as well as blockbuster films like Red Notice, Don't Look Up, Extraction, The Harder They Fall, The Old Guard and more.
Is China ready to break up with Hollywood? "It's not you, it's me..."
Think viewers embracing streaming is the biggest threat to American cinema? Think again. Over the past few decades Hollywood has been more and more reliant on special effects-driven blockbusters. Big explosions. Big spectacle. Big actors. Driving a lot of that energy was the promise of a strong box-office return from China. Except something interesting has happened, coinciding with the COVID shutdown of exhibition over this past 18 months or so - China's not interested in US product as much anymore.
You're thinking: There just hasn't been much to watch - they'll be back when the big films are being released regularly. But... don't be so sure about that. The market for cinema in China has shifted.
It's widely believed that as Chinese exhibitors have built theaters in smaller towns and cities, they have addressed a more local market and diluted the population that's likely to watch foreign movies. At the same time, Chinese movie-making has become more sophisticated, more blockbuster-driven and backed by bigger budgets. Prodded by central government, mainland Chinese filmmakers have reached into previously off-limit genres.
What does this mean for Hollywood? Those blockbusters budgeted at a few hundred million dollars are looking like far riskier bets. Are we reaching a future where a Marvel show on Disney+ may have a higher budget than the movie releases?
In a win for talented content creators, OnlyFans has reversed its adult content ban and will allow its creators to show whatever they want and put things in places they want to put them. Read: ABC
Expect Venom: Let There Be Carnage to be pushed back a few months for its cinema release. Ironically, Sony want to play it safer with the film as delta continues to screw with all of us. Read: Dark Horizons
Whoopi Goldberg wants to be Doctor Who, which begs the question: Why isn't she Doctor Who? She'd be great. Read: Deadline
Everybody's favourite Robert Altman film Prêt-à-Porter is getting a TV series remake for Paramount+. Read: Deadline
In a storm without a d-cup, grown-up adults are upset that the female lead in the Cowboy Bebop live-action show coming to Netflix hasn't been sexxed up as she was in the anime series. Read: Salon
HBO's teen-girl skateboarding series Betty has been cancelled after two seasons. The series, which is rather good, was based on the Crystal Moselle film Skate Kitchen. Moselle came back to create/run the series.
“We will not be moving forward with a third season of ‘Betty,'” HBO said in a statement. “We are very grateful for the collaboration with Crystal and our incredible cast — their fearless exploration of the world of New York City’s skate culture will remain a beautiful emblem of friendship and community.”
On a tangent - can we make a resolution for 2022 and hold to it going forward that we stop referring to girls/women as 'fearless'? The cliché is done at this point. Let's try harder.
Happy birthday Barbara Eden
The continues-to-be-great I Dream of Jeannie star Barbara Eden celebrated her 90th birthday this week. She's a treasure!
Lots of people watched the new Spidey trailer. Like... lots!
355.5 million people globally watched the new trailer for Spider-Man" No Way Home in its first 24 hours. That roughly doubles the viewership of the trailer for the previous Spidey film. It also makes it the most-watched trailer of all time (in a 24-hour launch period), beating out previous record-holder Avengers: Endgame at 289M views.
I'd embed the trailer here, but you've probably already watched it.
AMC chief steps down - now what?
Josh Sapan is the CEO of AMC Networks. This is the company that owns AMC and its relatively new online streamer AMC+. It also has assets/brands including Shudder, Sundance Now, and Acorn TV. Combined, its subscription services have over 20 million subscribers. Not a small fish by any means.
Josh Sapan is stepping down after 20 years at AMC. He's 70 (don't let that brown hair in his headshot fool you) and it's probably getting to be about time. But, despite him signaling to the business that he wanted to scale back, there isn't a succession plan in place. Interim Chief Matthew Blank will have the job for just one year until a new successor is found.
So, what does this mean? Well, queue the circling sharks. Everyone is talking about AMC now as a hot target for an acquisition. Here's Peter Csathy, chairman of advisory firm CreaTV Media:
“AMC is either signaling to the Street that it is ready to sell or is trying to do a ‘Kilar’ [as in AT&T’s WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar] — or hedging its bets by doing a little of both,” he tells THR. AMC may use the transition period with Blank in charge to “signal openness” given that “we are in the midst of a media [deal] frenzy right now.”
Celebrate Star Trek Day
Trekkers can celebrate Star Trek Day with a big, streamed event via Paramount+. But, mind you, this is only Paramount+ in the US. International versions of the streamer won't have this. Despite it being such a key brand for the US streamer, Trek is practically non-existent on the Aussie version. Right now it only has the 2009 Star Trek reboot film and its beloved sequel.