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.
Suicide Squad tanks at cinema as viewers watch at home
Is home viewing to be blamed for nobody seeing Suicide Squad at the movies?
This past weekend saw the release of 'superhero' spectacle film Suicide Squad to cinemas across the globe, while in the US it saw not just a cinema release along with a release direct to streaming. The box office take for the film... well, it wasn't great.
Not meeting box office expectations, the $182 million film pulled in just $26.5 million at the US box office. A further $35 million was made internationally (So a $72 million haul all up).
Why aren't people getting along to the film. There's three narratives taking shape (which are all connected):
The delta variant understandably has people freaked out. Here at Always Be Watching HQ's home of Sydney, Australia, the film hasn't opened in cinemas due to a delta-driven lockdown. Heck, Australia's biggest three biggest cities were shut this weekend. If viewers in the US and across the world are nervous about about going to the cinema, then they would need a pretty good reason to go out. Which brings us to #2...
Was there an audience hunger to see a sequel to the tepidly received and similarly titled Suicide Squad (2016)? Yes, The Suicide Squad is a far better film than the first one. But Warner Bros never gave audiences much of a reason to care. So, with limited passion for the film and limited desire to sit in a room filled with potentially diseased strangers, it brings us to #3...
HBO Max day and date streaming ate into the potential box office. Cinema attendees stayed at home and watched the film from the safety of their couches. And sure, maybe. But I ask this question: Why is the industry narrative blaming the HBO Max release? Isn't this a win for public health? Also, this was a film that was always likely to struggle. Success on HBO Max potentially gives it greater legs for future installments - as opposed to what would have happened following a straight out box office failure.
Regardless - with films like Black Widow, Jungle Cruise, and now Suicide Squad barely performing at the box office (Black Widow has finally passed F9's box office takings, but it has still under-performed for a Marvel film), expect a rocky couple of weeks ahead. Last week in the newsletter I predicted movies like the upcoming Bond movie being delayed once again. Let's see where this goes...
Step onto the field of dreams
A planned 2020 televised baseball game in Iowa will go ahead next Thursday. Why is this noteworthy? The baseball field is near the property used to film the movie Field of Dreams (which had farmer Kevin Costner ploughing his crops to create a baseball field for the ghosts of dead players to use - the film is rather good). It will be the first ever major league baseball game played in Iowa.
Fox will broadcast the game, starting with a pregame show at 5 PM Central time. The first pitch is set for around 6:15 PM CT. Joe Buck and John Smoltz will call the game, and Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci will serve as reporters. Members of the “Field of Dreams” cast will also be on hand, with Sox and Yankees players sharing their thoughts on the movie.
RIP Markie Post
Markie Post, the star of Night Court and The Fall Guy, has died at the age of 70 due to cancer.
Clearly popular with casting agents, she was a constant presence on TV following her screen debut in 1978, initially with guest roles on shows like Greatest American Hero, CHIPS, The Incredible Hulk, Battlestar Galactica, Hart To Hart, The Love Boat, Cheers, Simon & Simon, and many more series. But from 1982-1995, she was a permanent fixture on TV screens with back-to-back roles in successful series The Fall Guy, Night Court, and then Hearts Afire.
Born on Nov. 4, 1950, in Palo Alto, Calif., Ms. Post began her career working on game shows, writing questions for “Family Feud,” finding prizes for “The Price Is Right” and doing research for “Split Second.”
“I learned more researching that game show than I did in four years of college,” Ms. Post said in an interview with Bill Tush on his show in the 1980s.
Luis Guzman is set to play Gomez Addams in the new Netflix series Wednesday. Uh, sure. Okay. Read: The AV Club
Jeremy Fernandez, who I once bored greatly at an industry drinks event, will step in as guest host of Media Watch after regular host Paul Barry had a cycling accident. Read: TV Tonight
Production on White House Plumbers has been paused following an on-set altercation between showrunner Dave Mandel (Veep) and a member of the props department. If there was a weapon involved, I bet the props guy reached for something great. Read: Indiewire
Robert Rodriguez's cable channel El Rey wound down in 2020, but it is set to return as a streaming linear channel which is currently being shopped around. For those unfamiliar with the channel, my experience with it was that the channel mostly screened 70s Kung Fu movies and episodes of The A-Team. This isn't a criticism. Read: Deadline
Aussie celebrity Big Brother stuffs show with nobodies
The casting of celebrity reality shows is always confounding to me. When the audience doesn't know who at least 3/4 of these people are, one has to point out that after one episode of regular Big Brother, the participants are just as famous as the celebrity participants. Maybe even moreso because the first episode isn't spent with the audience making fun of the people on screen asking: "Who's that guy?"
To be fair, Ausie network Seven didn't call this Celebrity Big Brother. No, it's called Big Brother VIP. Which begs three questions. The first being what does the V stand for? By the time I even get to the third question, I'll be giggling at the answers.
People *I*could identify from the cast: US imports Caitlyn Jenner, and Omarosa. I recognise the name Bernard Curry, but for the life of me, I couldn't tell you how. And I guess Thomas Markle Jr is in some way related to the former Suits actor-turned-magazine fodder?
This isn't even good trash TV.
The second season of Wu-Tang: An American Saga debuts Sept 8 on Hulu.
The Empire debuts on Disney+ Hotstar on August 27. It will eventually launch on Disney+ Star in Australia and (probably) Hulu in the US. It looks great.
Dear White People returns for its fourth and final season Sept 22.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure STONE OCEAN (weird title) debuts on Netflix in December.
Sharkdog debuts on Netflix in September.
What's next? Tomorrow.
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.