Hollywood Playbook: Monday's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Monday's Top 5 News Items

Luke Skywalker to Narrate ‘Go Far: The Christopher Rush Story’

My brother, Zack Arnold, wrote, directed, and produced a documentary about his friend Christopher Rush, a young man who died of muscular dystrophy in 2007 at age 30. It is objectively a beautiful film about an incredible individual.

Forbes has a big write-up about “Go Far,” including the news that Mark Hamill will be the film’s narrator. He is even donating his fee:

Stars Wars inspired Christopher Rush, and it has also played a large part in the development of the film intended to honor him.  Mark Hamill (aka Luke Skywalker) offered to narrate the film.  Hamill explains, “When I was first approached about narrating GO FAR, I was not aware of the project.  But after reading just a one-page pitch I agreed to do it because Christopher’s story was so inspiring. And after viewing the trailer, I even donated my fee because just being involved with such a powerful story is payment enough. I’m proud to serve as Christopher’s voice and help share his message.”

Chris was huge Star Wars fan, and Hamill wasn’t the only person associated with “Star Wars” to be moved by “Go Far.”  After seeing the documentary, George Lucas was very generous about the use of “Star Wars” trademarked clips, music and images.

The film is completed but still in need of a grassroots effort to get the word out:

To spread Christopher’s inspirational message, Arnold is seeking assistance.  “My hope, now that we have the completed film, is to find an angel donor to help fund the coordination and traveling expenses for the grassroots campaign.  We’ve come this far, and there is no giving up, only pushing forward, even if it takes another seven years.”

For more information on how you can support the GO FAR effort or screen the film for your organization contact zack@gofarmovie.com.  You can also donate via the website at www.gofarmovie.com.

Here is the trailer:

You can watch more clips here.


FCC Head to End Blackmailing of Netflix?

Man, am I torn on this. On one hand, you want private businesses to be able to operate as private businesses. On the other, Internet/cable television providers have found a way to legally monopolize so that a very few very big companies can legally collude with pricing and policies that  ensures no one breaks from the pack to upset the windfall.

Anyway, the FCC is considering a proposal that would not allow Internet providers to create fast and slow lanes that discriminate against businesses like Netflix. In other words, Internet providers will not be allowed to blackmail Netflix into paying a special fee that ensures their service reaches their customers.

Aren’t these slow and fast lanes a way for Internet providers to do an end-run around the free market?

What I mean is this…

If Netflix Streaming is truly creating an unreasonable cost burden on Internet providers, why don’t the providers pass that cost on to consumers using Netflix (you and I)? Why blackmail Netflix? Currently, consumers are paying for a promised service (enough bandwidth to stream video). In order to blackmail Netflix, the Internet providers are not providing it. How is that ethical or market-driven?

Moreover, I don’t like the idea that a Comcast or Charter or AT&T can willy-nilly decide to kill something that you and I as customers are paying to receive. If just a handful of multi-nationals, who are all in love with the federal government that protects them, are in charge of the Internet and can “slow lane” whatever they wish, what if they start slow-laning content that challenges the government or their own monopolistic grip on the distribution of digital information?

In worse news, apparently  there is talk of the government taking over broadband as a public utility, like the electric and water companies:

[FCC Chairman Tom] Mr. Wheeler’s language will also invite comments on whether broadband Internet service should be considered a public utility, which would subject it to greater regulation. The FCC has so far not reclassified broadband as a utility, and providers have fiercely opposed such a move, saying it would cause innovation and investment to collapse.

A lot to think about.

I don’t trust big, intrusive government and I do not trust big business. They are merely opposite sides of the same coin.


Gosnell Movie Hits Fundraising Goal

Huge congrats to Phelim McAleer and Ann Mclhinney, the married producers, filmmakers, and journalists who are already at 104% of a $2.1 million fundraising goal for their narrative television film about abortion doctor and serial killer Kermit Gosnell.

There is still time to contribute. The filmmakers would like to accumulate 30,000 individual contributors. Right now the project has somewhere around 24,000 donors.

Achieving this goal matters for all kinds of reasons, including of course the fact that a movie about a serial killer allowed to ply his evil trade for decades thanks to a corrupt abortion industry, will now be made. Despite the best efforts of our corrupt media, the news of this monster and the political system that enabled him will spread. Hopefully, as a result, people will wake up to the fact that the politics surrounding the demonic abortion industry enable outright infanticide.

It also matters for business reasons…

Hollywood now knows that we can circumvent them financially. And since “The Passion of the Christ,” and with the hundred-plus million dollars three micro-budgeted Christian films have grossed in just the last two months, Hollywood also knows that through alternative media, we don’t need their publicity and (in some cases) distribution machines.

Hopefully, though, what Ann and Phelim did will work as a blueprint for other iconoclastic filmmakers eager to step off Hollywood’s left-wing plantation — and I don’t mean by lazily tossing up a two million dollar fundraising campaign for some “conservative movie.”

Before taking this step, Ann and Phelim honed their craft for eight long years through documentary filmmaking. Through three films, they earned the respect of the conservative community (and some of the open-minded in Hollywood) as serious, professional, filmmakers who could deliver. Furthermore, once the Gosnell fundraising campaign was launched, they worked their hearts out to get the word out.

You gotta put in the years.  You gotta earn the respect and admiration of those who can help you get the word out. You gotta find a subject like Gosnell that hits all the sweet spots. You gotta dig ditches, lay pipe, take risks, and know the exact right moment to strike.

 That’s the blueprint: work-risk-risk-work-risk-work-work-work.


Awful News: ‘Neighbors’ Opens to Incredible $51 Million

Seth Rogen’s “Neighbors” cost $18 million to produce and Box Office.com estimates its promotional budget at $35 million. That’s a total of $53 million, which means it’s all gravy after $105 million. In three days, the frat vs. family movie earned a total of $85.5 million worldwide — $34.4 million of that overseas.  

Basically, by Wednesday, “Neighbors” will be printing money for Universal. The comedy will also own its turf for nearly three weeks, or until Seth MacFarlane’s “8 Million Ways to Die in the West” goes  nationwide May 30.

The only thing that might possibly slow “Neighbors” down is a B from CinemaScore. That sounds high, but studios only feel good about the repeat business that creates blockbusters when a film earns an A. This is especially true for comedies.

Regardless, congratulations to all involved, especially Zac Efron who I knew a little bit before he was a star and knew would someday become a star.

The bad news, though, is that Hollywood will only be further encouraged to make these gross-out comedies, which I hate. I am, though, going to look for the time to sneak into a matinee of “Neighbors.” The hope is to be pleasantly surprised — which hasn’t happened since the original “Hangover.”  


The Wrap: Anti-God ‘Noah’ Will Lose Money

Added: Why I consider “Noah” to be “anti-God” here and here.

The Wrap’s Lucas Shaw claims “Noah”  cost $400 to $450 million. I’m assuming that includes advertising costs, but that seems absurdly high — higher even  than “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” At the same time, Shaw is saying “Noah” might eventually break even though it has only grossed $330 million. If Darren Arnofsky’s anti-God epic cost $400 million, it is most definitely the financial debacle Shaw says it isn’t.


Quick Hits

DreamWorks Animation at 20

4 Non Blondes Perform ‘What’s Up’ For First Time In 20 Years

In The Flintstones, Hanna-Barbera found a shameless rip-off that worked

Hunger Games: Mockingjay’, ‘The Stand’ and More

Digital Hollywood Spring 2014: The Top 10 Takeaways

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