Hollywood Playbook: Friday's Top 5 News Items
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Teaser Trailer
Cannot tell you how much I miss being excited about new movies… This looks like a cross between a middle school play and a video game….
"6 Movies We’re Looking Forward To." That Liam Neeson flick actually looks pretty good.
Amazon Considers HUGE Price Hike for Amazon Prime
I am an Amazon Prime member. You get a lot with it, but the attraction for me is Amazon Streaming and free delivery. Though I wouldn't be happy about it, I would probably still stay a member if the price jumps $40, from $79 to $119.
Prime is still a good deal at $10 a month.
Amazon pretty much does everything right, so I'm guessing they would come up with an added value to make that price hike go down easier. Maybe name a delivery drone after you, or something….
The Mighty Rob Schneider Seeks to Change TV Biz Model
The Mighty Rob Schneider (so-named for the brilliance that is "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo" -- the greatest comedy in decades) is going to write, direct, and star in an eight-episode sitcom that he will fund and produce all on his own. Schneider has some "silent partners" to help with the financing, but no deal set up in advance for distribution.
This is two digital revolutions coming together at once. First you have digital technology bringing down the cost of television production in ways that were unimaginable 20 years ago. Secondly, the bottleneck of distribution has been shattered. It used to be you either had to get the okay from a handful of movie studios or a handful of television networks. Today the outlets are endless.
In a bid for artistic freedom, a talent like Schneider can take the risk of investing in a finished product before having distribution in place. And if everyone says no, he can still self-distribute online. There is no guarantee of a profit. But the risk has been reduced enough to make it manageable.
“If I pull this off, other actors are going to realize that they can go around the networks and studios and get their shows out to the public,” he said. “This is an important step in artists controlling their own destiny.”
You no longer need to be a major corporation to produce and distribute. That is not to say it's cheap. But instead of being a multi-million dollar company, you need only cash in the 401K and re-finance the mortgage.
In short: "You can do it!"
"Are" Faith-Based Audiences Are More Important Than Hollywood Admits
This editorial about the Duck Dynasty uproar catching Hollywood off guard (Where did all these Christians come from!?) is from January 9, but I'm just finding it now. Many excellent points are made, but the writer, Larry Poland, does forget one important thing. Here is his conclusion:
So, why does this huge audience remain a mystery to the power brokers of media? First, they generally have no personal association with faith conservatives, especially born-again Christians. Second, they don’t read the writings of or personally enter into the world of the devout. Third, in all of their demographic research, they don’t get into the nuances of the core beliefs. Thus, they are shocked when believers speak them and receive gargantuan national support as happened in the “Duck Dynasty” shootout. Finally, media execs share a kind of PC — Philosophical Correctness — with their media colleagues. This insulates them from a host of competent, reasonable, salt-of-the-earth people out there who believe in Jesus, the Bible or Torah and a four-millennia-old code of moral values.
Shocking but true.
What Poland forgets is how fractured the entertainment world has become. If Johnny Carson got the same ratings Jay Leno does today, he would have been fired. And today Leno is number 1. Thirty years ago, the same numbers that made "Mad Men," "The Sopranos," and "Breaking Bad" hits would have been disastrous and all three would've been canceled within six weeks. Compared to the American population, the ratings for CNN are ZERO, but it is still a very profitable enterprise.
Other than big sporting events like the Super Bowl, Americans no longer engage in a shared entertainment culture. The provincial bigots who run a majority of our media and entertainment multi-nationals no longer have to attract the masses in order to be successful. When you only need five million viewers to declare your TV show a hit, or 1.5 million to rank as a top cable news show, you can pretty much do whatever you want -- and that includes either ignoring or offending Christians.
Movies, however, are different. Outside of independent films, something closer to mass appeal is crucial to their success. Tent-pole blockbusters need tens of millions of customers to break even. This is why we are seeing more culturally conservative films than we did just five years ago.
Friday Recommendation: "The Office" British Version
While it is all kinds of depressing to realize "The Office" is already 13-years-old, time has done nothing to dull its brilliance. Anyone who has worked in any kind of office environment can relate. Especially those of us who have worked for David Brent.
The commitment required is small. There are only 14 episodes and they stream on Netflix. I gobbled them up in three days and am hoarse from laughing.
Redband trailer for "A Million Ways to Die in The West"…
Oscar Can Still Invite the Disqualified Christians Over for a Song…
Today's Deal at Amazon is an INSANELY good deal…
‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Super Bowl Trailer…
TCM celebrates 1939 all day Saturday…
NOTE: I will be traveling for the next two weeks and during that time there will be no Playbook. I will, however, be writing about my trip to Rome. Tune in for that.
Send tips, requests to email@example.com
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC