Hollywood Playbook: Friday's Top 5 News Items
'Godzilla' Opens to Stunning $9.3 Million Thursday Night
I said yesterday that the $65 million prediction for "Godzilla" seemed awfully low. It appears I was right. "Godzilla" snatched $9.3 million Thursday night beating even "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," which went on to open to almost $92 million.
I was one of those moviegoers last night. You can read my review here. The theatre was packed and if my crowd is any indication, word-of-mouth is going to be through the roof. We had a collective blast. I can't remember the last time I sat with an audience who applauded at various points during the movie.
Go, go Godzilla…
I was shocked to read after I had actually seen the movie that the director claimed "Godzilla" was a Global Warming cautionary tale.
One of the primary themes of all Godzilla films, including this one, is that man can't control nature. So how are we supposed to use Socialism to fix something we can't control like Global Warming?
So far, in the quality department, Hollywood is sitting at .666 with its summer action blockbusters. "Godzilla" and "Captain America 2" are both exceptional.
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2," which I also saw last night, is flat and disappointing. There are a couple of good moments, but the movie is over-plotted, over-CGI'd, overlong, and the Peter Parker/Gwen Stacy relationship is lacking. Not as bad as Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 3," but too close for comfort.
'Blade Runner 2' Is Happening and Deckard Might Be Back
Harrison Ford has been offered the opportunity to reprise his role as Deckard in the upcoming sequel to "Blade Runner." The script is apparently done, 77 year-old Ridley Scott is committed to return as director, and it looks as though Deckard wasn't a replicant. If he was, he wouldn't age and didn't have long to live when we last saw him, correct?
"Blade Runner" is one of those once-underrated films that is now a tad overrated. I love the movie, especially the pre-CGI in-camera design and effects, but some put it at the tippy-top of the sci-fi movie heap, and that's going a little far. The story drags some in the middle, no?
Let's face it, though, a sequel and eventual franchise was and is inevitable.
Harrison Ford might hit the trifecta: returning as Deckard, Indiana Jones, and Han Solo all while in his seventies.
Any day now I'm expecting the announcement about the return of Bob Falfa when Universal franchises "American Graffiti." You see, Falfa didn’t die in that car accident. The hooker played by Suzanne Somers was also a licensed EMT and she saved him off-camera. Now it's 1995 and they're ready for one last drag on the strip…
[CORRECTION] Falfa doesn't die in "America Graffiti." Damn my memory, which sees his car explode in a ball of flame and feels the sadness of such a young man dying for such a dumb reason.
Comcast Plans Data Caps For All Customers
Comcast plans to cap data usage for customers at anywhere from 300GB to 500GB per month. Seven trial states already have 300GB limits. Comcast, as you know, is already trying to gobble up Time Warner Cable, and now the multinational is floating a trial balloon with a ticking clock. Comcast customers are five years away from losing unlimited Internet usage. Go over the allotment and you will be billed another $10 for what Comcast calls an "extra bucket of usage," or 50GB.
Comcast is obviously thinking about its own future and how to still make big buckets of money in five years when bundled cable will likely have lost millions of
suckers subscribers to much cheaper Streaming packages like Netflix, or whatever else pops up.
Comcast is so big they can get you coming and going. You drop their cable, they ding you for Streaming. And the company is looking to get bigger.
Keep in mind that in five years, outfits like Netflix will probably be streaming everything in Super HD, 4K. Those GBs will be eaten up pretty fast. Well, actually none of this will matter because Global Warming or Obama will have destroyed the world by 2019.
According to one source, 300 GB buys you "1000 hours of viewing. If set to stream in 'Best Quality,' Netflix will deliver 300 hours of movies and TV shows in standard definition or 130 Hours in High Definition."
More and more.
NYT: Why Unbundling Won't Save You Money
This is fairly typical of the New York Times' Josh Barro, another one of his pointy-headed, smarter-than-thou articles that contains all kinds of high-brow intellectualism but almost no common sense (my guess is that Barro has spent less time in the real world than the common housefly).
Barro kind of misses the big picture by trying to deconstruct the argument that ala carte cable pricing won't be cheaper for customers. Barro argues that if you only pay for the few channels you watch (instead of 200 you're currently forced to purchase in packages), the cost of maintaining the physical cable and equipment is so high, you will still be charged a high basic fee along with per channel fee that in the end wouldn’t save people much money.
That is probably true, but to end the argument and contain it there is the only way to make it sound relevant.
Just for starters, if cable companies did go ala carte, what would happen to the low-rated channels no one watches or would purchase; like for instance, the one Barro regularly appears on: MSNBC? These networks would lose precious millions in carriage fees, be forced to rely more and more on advertisers, and eventually become extinct.
Imagine there's no MSNBC or CNN … you can if you try.
Out of the 200 channels currently out there, maybe the top 25 could survive in a world where actual popularity transfers into revenue (i.e., enough eyeballs to attract enough sponsors to make a profit). As of now, about 175 are being propped up by the multinational, left-wing affirmative action program known as bundled cable.
Had Barro written this article five or even three years ago, it might have been relevant. But bundled cable's problem is no longer the ala carte movement, it's the Streaming movement; it's people "cutting the cable cord" entirely.
In five or ten years, MSNBC might be in a position where it offers itself as a streaming and cable channel for $4.99 a month.
That's the world we want to live in.
But we could also live in a world where Comcast buys Netflix and forces us to pay $99 a month to stream all the same crappy networks we are currently forced to pay for on cable. The MSNBCs still get subsidized, the little guy still gets screwed, the rich get richer, and the world keeps right on turning.
ADDITIONAL: WWE's Streaming channel off to shaky start.
Ted Cruz and Al Franken Agree to Hate FCC's New Neutrality Rules
Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Democrat Al Franken agree that the just-proposed Internet rules by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler endanger freedom.
Especially frightening is Wheeler okaying big multinationals like Comcast to create fast lanes. In other words, BIG companies that can afford BIG fees to enjoy the BIG special privilege of having their content delivered will enjoy a BIG advantage over small companies.
Between Comcast's data caps and this, you can already feel Big Business and Big Government conspiring to ensure that in some way, shape, or form the racket of bundled cable lives on.
As I mentioned above, a Comcast could purchase a Netflix and rig it to screw us as hard as bundled cable already does. But if Tucker: The Man and His Dream comes along to try again with something closer to what Netflix once was, and can't afford the fast lane… He'll be stuck in Comcast's slow lane and won’t be allowed to deliver his product.
Everyone's moving their sinister chess pieces into place.
Cruz is especially right that "A five-member panel at the FCC should not be dictating how Internet services will be provided to millions of Americans."
Yep. Congress should have that power -- an entity responsible to voters as opposed to a panel responsible to no one. Cruz is drafting a bill to do just that.
Franken called the whole scheme "pay for play."
Damn right it is.
BONUS: Tonight's Double Feature
Usually on Friday nights, I like to end the work week with a double feature and bore all of you with the what and why.
Things are a little crazy right now, though. In a perfect world it would be a An Evening with The Mighty Peter Fonda, meaning "Easy Rider"(1969) followed by "Race with the Devil" (1975). But I have a house to paint and the sun looks like it will be shining till right around 8:17 pm.
I also have the luxury problem of a bunch screeners to watch and review: "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," "Lone Survivor," "Springtime In the Rockies" (1942), and 5 musicals in The Rodgers and Hammerstein Bluray Collection.
I'm desperate to get the painting done before it gets too hot. So I'm humping that job big-time. Also, if the weather is nice Monday and Tuesday, don't look for a Playbook. I might take those days off. As has been the case since my first day on the job, the good folks I work for are going above and beyond to help me out.
Obligations. Responsibilities. Except for being able to eat cookies for breakfast, this being a grown-up stuff leaves much to be desired.
Have a good weekend, everyone,
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