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- 10/17/18--06:20: _Netflix revealed it...
- 10/17/18--06:49: _10 young actors Net...
- 10/17/18--07:00: _Stephen King loves ...
- 10/17/18--08:24: _'The Conners' premi...
- 10/17/18--08:54: _'Pokémon Go' just r...
- 10/17/18--10:02: _Netflix's CEO says ...
- 10/17/18--10:25: _Wall Street analyst...
- 10/17/18--11:08: _The Rock is the mos...
- 10/17/18--11:33: _Jake and Logan Paul...
- 10/17/18--11:42: _How much the highes...
- 10/17/18--13:13: _The maker of 'Fortn...
- 10/17/18--13:56: _The New York Attorn...
- 10/17/18--14:08: _Investors seem to b...
- 10/17/18--14:25: _All the TV shows th...
- 10/18/18--03:59: _A film starring Fan...
- 10/18/18--06:48: _Microsoft finally m...
- 10/18/18--07:04: _I played 2018's mos...
- 10/18/18--07:04: _'Halloween' is pois...
- 10/18/18--09:05: _These amazing pumpk...
- 10/18/18--09:16: _Jonah Hill says he ...
- Netflix said its Oscar contender, "Roma," will be released in at least 100 theaters.
- That's one of the largest theatrical releases by the streaming giant, which will also make the movie available on its site at the same time.
- Oscar pundit Tom O'Neil from Gold Derby told Business Insider the movie is an Oscar frontrunner and the 100 theater release proves Netflix means business.
- But comScore box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian believes there will still be challenges for "Roma" getting award season consideration because Netflix isn't giving the movie an exclusive theatrical release.
- 10/17/18--06:49: 10 young actors Netflix has launched into movie and TV stardom
- The renowned horror author Stephen King on Tuesday called Netflix's "The Haunting of Hill House" TV series "close to a work of genius."
- The horror series is a surprisingly emotional family drama and one of Netflix's best original shows.
- Its director, Mike Flanagan ("Gerald's Game"), creates a creepy mood throughout the series that leaves the viewer in suspense.
- The show's true horror beyond ghosts, though, comes from our real-life, human fears.
- ABC's "Roseanne" spin-off, "The Conners," debuted on Tuesday to 10.5 million viewers.
- That's not as high as the "Roseanne" premiere earlier this year, but on par with industry predictions.
- "If we can capture even half of 'Roseanne's' audience from last year, we'll be the number one new show for the season," ABC exec Andy Kubitz told Vulture.
- Pokémon Go" is adding 4th generation Pokémon from the Sinnoh region of "Pokémon Diamond and Pearl."
- About two dozen new Pokémon have been discovered so far, and more will be introduced over the next few weeks via eggs, raids, and encounters in the wild.
- The Sinnoh roll out will eventually include new evolutions for existing Pokémon too.
- Turtwig, Grotle and Torterra
- Chimchar, Monferno, and Infernape
- Piplup, Prinplup, and Empoleon
- Starly, Staravia, and Staraptor
- Bidoof and Bibarel
- Kricketot and Kricketune
- Buneary and Lopunny
- Riolu and Lucario
- Shinx and Luxio
- Chatot (May be exclusive to South America)
- Pachirisu (May be exclusive to cold climates)
- Carnivine (May be exclusive to the southeastern U.S.)
- Netflix faces a host of new rivals in the streaming video business, including Disney.
- Despite that, the company has no plans to diversify into other business lines, CEO Reed Hastings said.
- That's because there's more than enough room to grow in streaming for years into the future, he said.
- The rise of digital TV packages from companies such as Hulu, YouTube, and DirecTV, which pay TV networks carriage fees to show their channels, has helped soften the blow of subscriber losses from traditional pay-TV bundles.
- But according to Morgan Stanley, these bundles have terrible margins, with Hulu's estimated as actually being negative.
- Hulu's CEO told The Information the company was looking into creating a skinnier bundle and packages with "positive margins."
- That could mean a nasty surprise for TV networks whose channels get cut out of such bundles.
- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is the most well-liked entertainer among Americans on Forbes' list of the 100 highest-paid celebrities, according to a survey by Morning Consult.
- Kim Kardashian West was the least liked.
- Other entertainers that people favored were Jackie Chan, Will Smith, Paul McCartney, Adam Sandler, and J.K. Rowling.
- YouTube stars Jake and Logan Paul are controversial and easy to hate.
- But both are among YouTube's most talented artists.
- Their videos have an inventive approach to style and structure.
- And the Paul brothers are talented performers with Hollywood-level charisma.
- "Fortnite" developer Epic Games is suing a pair of YouTubers for promoting hacks and trolling in the game and selling cheat software.
- The lawsuit, filed in a North Carolina district court, claims that cheat software damages the experience of "Fortnite" players, and harms the game's community as a result.
- Epic Games is seeking damages from the two defendants and has asked the court to compel the pair to stop infringing on "Fortnite's" copyright and user agreements.
- The New York Attorney General has launched an investigation into the parent company of MoviePass for allegedly misleading investors, according to CNBC.
- Helios and Matheson has faced criticism from investors in recent months as several assurances from management have unraveled and the company has diluted their stakes by selling millions of new shares to the public.
- Many Helios and Matheson shareholders have seen the value of their stakes dwindle by over 99%, with some losing over $100,000.
- Helios and Matheson, the parent company of MoviePass, is seeking to boost its share price through another reverse-split of its stock.
- Two of the major research firms that offer investors advice on shareholder votes back the reverse-split proposal.
- Even so, investors appear dubious of it.
- They have good reason to oppose it — it would free the company up to issue billions of new shares of stock after it's already massively diluted shareholders.
- MoviePass' parent company just freed up some room to sell more stock — after already increasing its share count by 80,000% since July
- MoviePass' parent company says the $65 million in new funding it just raised isn't exactly 'new'
- MoviePass' parent company has boosted its share count by an unbelievable 80,000% since July — but it's run out of room to issue new stock
- Even after massively diluting its stock, MoviePass' parent company could issue billions of more shares, and there's little investors can do about it
- 10/17/18--14:25: All the TV shows that have been canceled in 2018
- Chinese actress Fan Bingbing's new movie "Air Strike" has been scrapped, the director announced on Wednesday, without specifying the reasons.
- The cancelation comes after Fan was publicly disappeared by the Chinese government for three months and fined $129 million for dodging tax on her contracts, including from "Air Strike."
- The movie, which also stars actors Bruce Willis and Adrien Brody, was due to be released on October 26.
- 10/18/18--06:48: Microsoft finally made an Xbox I actually want to buy
- Microsoft is running a promotion with Taco Bell between October 18 and November 12.
- Buying a $5 Double Chalupa Box — or simply mailing your information on a postcard to a certain PO Box, detailed below — gives you a chance to win a limited-edition Xbox One X.
- This exclusive Xbox One features a platinum finish, a matching Xbox Elite wireless controller, and best of all, it plays Taco Bell's famous "ring" when powered on.
- In unrelated news, I'm currently standing in line at Taco Bell for a $5 Double Chalupa Box.
- "Halloween" is projected to gross $65 million or more at the box office this weekend, continuing the horror genre's win streak.
- The movie has already surpassed "The Nun" as the online ticket service Fandango's biggest horror preseller this year.
- The movie arrives amid an already impressive October box office, in which "Venom" broke the record for the biggest opening weekend of the month.
- Nonprofit worker Noel Dickover is a master pumpkin carver that has been featured by numerous media organizations.
- He began carving in 1997 and since has learned how to make increasingly elaborate carvings of everything from a Death Star to scenes from Game of Thrones.
- His pumpkins are likely the most intricate jack-o'-lanterns you will see this Halloween season.
- Jonah Hill had his "Mid90s" cast of kid actors and non-professionals watch the 2006 indie movie, "This Is England," before they started production.
- Hill wanted to show them that even kids can give gripping performances.
- "This Is England" looks at a teen finding acceptance from a group of skinheads.
- Hill was also inspired by another English movie, "Fish Tank."
On Tuesday, Netflix announced its third-quarter earnings and outside of exceeding Wall Street expectations, the streaming giant also gave a hint at how it will be releasing its big Oscar contender.
In a letter to shareholders, the company noted that it will be giving its original movie, Alfonso Cuarón's critically acclaimed "Roma," one of the biggest theatrical releases it has ever done.
"This December, we'll be launching 'Roma,' from Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón," the letter says. "We support simultaneous release in cinema and on Netflix, and the film will debut on Netflix and on over 100 screens worldwide, just as we are doing currently with '22 July,' from Oscar-nominated director Paul Greengrass. We believe in our member-centric simultaneous release model for our original films and welcome additional theatre chains that are open to carrying our films to provide the shared-viewing, big-screen experience to their customers who enjoy that option."
Since "Roma" — a gripping look at the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City, shot in black-and-white — won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival and wowed audiences at numerous other top fall film festivals, the award season buzz for the movie has been high. This has led to questions within the industry of how Netflix would go about releasing what looks to be a sure-fire Oscar contender. Would it continue to do the day-and-date release, simultaneously showing the movie in theaters as it's available to stream? Or would it give the movie a traditional exclusive theatrical release before making it available on streaming?
Turns out Netflix went with day-and-date, which makes "Roma" unavailable to the main movie chains (AMC, Regal, Cinemark), which refuse to show movies that don't adhere to the 90-day exclusive theatrical window. By comparison, Cuarón's Oscar-winning "Gravity" was released in 2013 by Warner Bros. on over 3,500 screens.
This doesn't make day-and-date movies ineligible to the Oscars or other awards, but it makes it harder to pull off nominations and wins. Take, for example, the Netflix titles in the past that on paper looked like Oscar contenders: 2015's "Beasts of No Nation" and 2018's "Mudbound." "Beasts" didn't get any nominations (though Idris Elba received a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor) and "Mudbound" got four (including a best supporting actress nod for Mary J. Blige and the first female cinematographer nomination for Rachel Morrison), however, not for best director or best picture, which many in the industry thought it would get.
Oscar pundit Tom O'Neil from Gold Derby said that right now "Roma" is an Oscar frontrunner alongside the Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga box-office hit, "A Star Is Born." Cuarón is also a a frontrunner in the best director category.
"Rolling out 'Roma' to 100 theaters is smart because it sends the message to Oscar voters that this is a serious film in the traditional sense, not just a hot new thing to see on America's top streaming service," O'Neil told Business Insider. "Putting 'Roma' in theaters is also crucial because Cuarón wants viewers to appreciate its advanced technology on a big screen." (The movie's lush photography was shot on 65mm film.)
But some in the industry don't see "Roma" having a smooth ride to Oscar night. Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst at comScore, believes that there are still those in the industry who will only consider movies for award season, especially the Oscars, if they have a traditional exclusive theatrical release. And seeing that Netflix's biggest rival, Amazon Studios, has respected the theatrical window — by doing an exclusive release before making it available to stream (and won an Oscar for "Manchester by the Sea") — doesn't help its cause.
"The way Amazon has done its releases, they totally get it," Dergarabedian told Business Insider. "It has set a precedent that everyone can point to because you are honoring theatrical and then taking the platform release to another level. That may be the thing that creates the biggest hurdles for any entity that tries to go day-and-date and yet still get Oscar consideration."
Netflix has been able to own the Emmys, having had 23 wins in just this past show, but the Oscars continues to be a harder nut to crack (its biggest Oscar win to date was taking home best doc for “Icarus” at this year’s show). Netflix's head of content Ted Sarandos said on an earnings call on Tuesday that directors like Alfonso Cuarón are coming to Netflix because at the streaming giant their work is given to the audiences "in ways they've never seen before," but if the company can't show it can also get their talent Oscars, Netflix may lose out on those prestige titles in the future.
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Netflix has already launched the careers of numerous young actors who could be the next generation of movie and TV stars, and their Instagram followings since gaining fame show just how popular they are with audiences.
In fact, Netflix has been so successful at this of late that it spent a big chunk of its latest letter to shareholders taking a victory lap.
In the letter, distributed Tuesday, the streaming giant said, "When our service helps our talent develop huge fan bases (from small followings to over 10 million Instagram followers), we can attract the best talent in the world."
"This explosive growth in popularity is a good indicator that our shows and stars are breaking out around the planet," it added.
Stars like Millie Bobby Brown of "Stranger Things," Katherine Langford of "13 Reasons Why," and Noah Centineo of "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" have well over 10 million followers on Instagram. And that's especially important in today's Hollywood landscape.
"Followers should be FAR more important to talent in Hollywood that Nielsen ratings — followers last beyond your current creative project," BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield wrote on Twitter.
Here are 10 young stars under 30 from Netflix movies and TV shows, with their followings from before they were famous compared to now (as of October 4), according to Netflix:
Below are 10 popular Netflix actors who could be the next generation of movie stars:
Millie Bobby Brown
Netflix show: "Stranger Things" (Eleven)
Instagram followers before Netflix debut (2016): 0
Followers now: 17.6 million
Brown rose to stardom with her acclaimed performance as Eleven on "Stranger Things." She has been nominated for an Emmy twice for the role, and is among the youngest actors to ever be nominated at the Emmys.
Netflix show: "Stranger Things" (Dustin Henderson)
Instagram followers before Netflix debut (2016): 0
Followers now: 8.8 million
Matarazzo was in an episode of "The Blacklist" prior to "Stranger Things," but the latter is his first major role and has shot him to fame.
Netflix show: "Stranger Things" (Mike Wheeler)
Instagram followers before Netflix debut (2016): 100,000
Followers now: 11 million
Besides Brown, Wolfhard may be the most recognizable of the "Stranger Things" child actors, having also starred in last year's film adaptation of the Stephen King novel, "It." He'll also star in its sequel, set to come to theaters next year.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The renowned horror author Stephen King has high praise for Netflix's new horror series, "The Haunting of Hill House," which debuted on the streaming service on Friday.
In a tweet on Tuesday, the writer of classic novels in the genre like "The Shining" and "It" described the series as "close to a work of genius."
"I don't usually care for this kind of revisionism, but this is great," King said. "Close to a work of genius, really. I think Shirley Jackson would approve, but who knows for sure."
We can't help but agree with King, as have many other critics. (The series has a 90% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes.) "The Haunting of Hill House" is one of Netflix's best original series.
Some of the best horror movies are also engaging family dramas. A recent example is this year's "Hereditary," which its director, Ari Aster, has described as "a family tragedy that curdles into a nightmare."
"The Haunting of Hill House" could also be described that way. It takes the concept and expands it over 10 serialized TV episodes. Not only is the show a chilling horror series, but it's an emotional story of a family being torn apart — often by the supernatural forces at work against them, but also by their own faults.
The series, loosely based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson, follows the Crain family in their present lives and in the past, when they lived in the haunted Hill House for a summer. Olivia (played by Carla Gugino) and Hugh (played by Henry Thomas in the past and Timothy Hutton in the present) move themselves and their five kids to the house to flip it, but forces beyond their control upend their plan.
Years later, the Crains are still haunted by their past, even though they don't want to admit it, and they spread out between the two coasts. The oldest of the five kids, Steven (Michiel Huisman), is a horror author. His sister, Shirley (Elizabeth Reaser), a funeral director, condemns him for using their family trauma to sell books and urges their siblings not to take his royalty checks.
Theo (Kate Siegel, the standout performer), a children's psychiatrist with a mysterious gift that requires her to wear gloves at nearly all times, is living in Shirley's guest house. The youngest, twins Luke (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and Nell (Victoria Pedretti), have a mental connection with each other, but Luke is a drug addict and Nell is still fixated on her time in the house because of a recent tragedy.
The show flashes between the present and the past, and most episodes focus on a particular family member. But it always feels integral to the story, never like a gimmick. By the end, every plot thread is addressed in a satisfying — and shocking — conclusion.
As a horror series, the show raises the bar for the genre. There are your typical jump scares, but the true horror plays out in more subtle, chilling ways, thanks to its director, Mike Flanagan, who has made a name for himself as a horror director in recent years with "Oculus," "Hush," "Before I Wake," "Ouija: Origin of Evil," and "Gerald's Game." He's also attached to direct the "Shining" sequel, "Doctor Sleep."
Flanagan sets an eerie mood to keep the viewer in suspense — and the sixth episode in particular highlights his evolution as a filmmaker — but it's not just ghosts that make the show scary. Like any good piece of horror, "The Haunting of Hill House" exploits our most common human fears: the death of a loved one, addiction, betrayal, etc. And it does so in surprisingly emotional ways.
It's tough to go into too much detail about the show without diving into spoilers. Some of the best parts involve revelations I didn't see coming. That's why that will be a massive hit that people will be talking about, and not just because it makes for a perfect Halloween binge.
"The Haunting of Hill House" is now available to stream on Netflix.
Watch the trailer below:
"The Conners," ABC's spin-off of "Roseanne," premiered Tuesday without Roseanne Barr. While the numbers don't match those of the "Roseanne" reboot earlier this year, ABC didn't need them to.
"If we can capture even half of 'Roseanne's' audience from last year, we'll be the number one new show for the season," Andy Kubitz, ABC's executive VP for programming strategy and scheduling, told Vulture.
But how did "The Conners" do?
The show premiered to 10.5 million viewers, according to Entertainment Weekly. That's on par with analyst projections, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and above half of the "Roseanne" premiere, which debuted to 18.2 million viewers for its hour-long premiere in March.
Some may have tuned in to see how the show handled the departure of Barr. In the new series, Barr's character, Roseanne Conner, dies due to an opioid overdose. Executive producer Tom Werner explained that this was a theme "very relevant to our audience."
"We're doing a comedy, but this is a problem that has affected tens of thousands of people, opioid addiction," he said. "This was a challenge that Roseanne Conner was dealing with last year, and we felt that this was something that could shine a light on something."
Barr herself said in a statement after the show aired that she didn't like the way ABC killed off her character.
"That it was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show," said Barr and her Rabbi and friend, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. "This was a choice the network did not have to make. 'Roseanne' was the only show on television that directly addressed the deep divisions threatening the very fabric of our society."
"Roseanne" dipped in viewership over the course of its revival season, but the finale in May still had 10.3 million viewers. It remains the biggest show of the year, but was cancelled after Barr tweeted a racist remark at former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Time will tell if "The Conners" can hold on to an audience for its 10-episode season. But even if its finale gets half the viewers as the "Roseanne" finale, it will still be satisfying for ABC.
Two years after its release "Pokémon Go" is still expanding; creator Niantic Labs recently introduced a fresh batch of Pokémon from "Pokémon Diamond and Pearl" to the augmented reality game and more will be on the way soon.
"Diamond and Pearl" Pokémon are from the Sinnoh region; fans of the original games refer to them as the fourth generation Pokémon. So far players on Reddit have reported seeing 25 new Pokémon, including "Diamond and Pearl" starters Piplup, Chimchar, and Turtwig. As usual in "Pokémon Go," some Pokémon are region specific, appearing in certain countries or in exclusive climates. Here's the full list of new 4th Gen Pokémon that have been spotted thus far, along with their evolutions.
Though some Pokémon in the game gained new evolutions in "Diamond and Pearl," they are not yet available in game. However, trailers for the Sinnoh update did show two of Eeevee's fourth generation evolutions, Glaceon and Leafeon, so it's likely that the rest of the existing cast will have access to their new evolutions soon too. Check out the teaser trailer for the new update below and to see some of the new 4th Gen Pokémon being added to the game.
If you've ever fantasized about potential a Netflix video game service, a Netflix smartphone or a Netflix movie theater pass, don't hold your breath.
That's the message from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings who made it clear on Tuesday that the company cares about one thing and one thing only: streaming video.
Yes, the streaming market is getting increasingly crowded with AT&T, Apple, Disney, and Facebook all rushing in. But Netflix isn't worried about hitting a ceiling in the streaming business and being forced to find growth in other markets anytime soon.
"There is so much growth ahead that's possible in streaming video entertainment, so we're just going to focus on that for a very long time," Hastings said during a webcast for investors and analysts following Netflix's third-quarter earnings report on Tuesday.
By Hastings' reckoning, there's a good five to ten more years of room left for Netflix to grow in the streaming market.
Netflix pretty much invented the subscription streaming video market, and it dominates it. It now has some 138 million paying subscribers around the world, far more than rivals such as Hulu.
That success is attracting lots of other companies. Disney plans to launch a rival streaming service next year. Warner Brothers, now owned by AT&T, just launched the DC Universe streaming service. Facebook has released a collection of short-form and long-form videos. And Apple has released a couple of streaming shows and has several more in the works. So too Facebook.
And that's not to mention its long-time rivals, which include Amazon and Hulu.
Even Walmart is reportedly planning to jump on the streaming bandwagon.
Hastings says there won't be "wallet share" competition anytime soon
For the near future, though, there's more than enough room in the market for both Netflix and its rivals, Hastings said. The market is growing fast enough that it's not about to turn into a zero-sum game, where to gain a customer, Netflix would need to steal one from one of its streaming rivals, he said
"Someday there will have to be competition for wallet share," Hastings said. "But," he continued, "it seems very far off from everything we've seen."
Indeed, things looked very good for Netflix in the third quarter. It added 7 million subscribers — 2 million more than it had forecast — and posted a much better-than-expected profit.
Still, even if the market is growing fast enough that the competition from Disney and the other companies won't crimp Netflix's subscriber growth, it could hurt the streaming media giant in other ways. Most notably, it could restrict the amount and types of videos Netflix will be able to license from its rivals or force it to pay more to either license that content or develop new productions.
Already, Netflix will have to contend with the end of its licensing deal with Disney at the end of this year. Meanwhile, in recent years, Netflix has dramatically increased the amount it spends on content.
But on the webcast, Netflix officials downplayed both threats. The ending of such licensing deals has presented the company with new opportunities to develop its own content, particularly unscripted reality shows, said Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer. Those shows are attracting similar audiences as the scripted shows they've replaced in the company's lineup, but they cost less to produce, he said.
Netflix expects its cash drain to slow in 2020
Meanwhile, despite the growing competition for content, Netflix expects to get a handle in coming years on its investment in shows and movies, said David Wells, Netflix's chief financial officer.
This year, the company expects its free cash flow — which represent the cash generated or used up in operations less the amount its investing in things like equipment and content — to be in the range of negative $3 billion to $4 billion, thanks largely to the money it's spending on its Originals. It expects to see a similar outflow of free cash next year. But starting in 2020, it expects that outflow to start to decline, Wells said.
That outflow of cash has been beneficial to the company, he said.
"We're seeing those investments drive a lot of growth," Wells said. But, he continued, "Netflix is approaching the point where our growth in operating profit is going grow faster than our content cash spend."
To be sure, Netflix is not averse to diversifying eventually, Hastings said. It actually did just that when it moved from its original business of mailing out DVDs into streaming, he noted. But for now, Hastings and his colleagues see more than enough opportunity in the streaming business to stick with it.
"Someday, you know, many, many years from now, we may need to diversify, but for now, let's focus on the core," he said.
So if you're waiting for Netflix-branded popcorn and sodas to go along with a binge session of Stranger Things, check back in 5 years.
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As subscribers have continued to flee traditional pay-TV bundles, digital packages have emerged to soothe the pain for TV networks by stepping in and keeping the carriage fees coming.
Since Sling TV launched in 2015, a slew of other packages from companies such as YouTube, Hulu, and DirecTV have sprung up. These bundles look a lot like traditional satellite or cable ones, except they are delivered via internet data to your smart TV or other device.
But there's a problem for the companies offering them: The margins on these packages are truly terrible.
Hulu announced in September that its live-TV package (dubbed "Hulu with Live TV") had crossed 1 million subscribers a little more than a year after launching. That sounds like great news, but the bad news starts coming fast when you drill into the details of how much money Hulu is actually making.
In a research note distributed Monday, analysts at Morgan Stanley led by Benjamin Swinburne estimated how much revenue each subscriber was generating.
"We estimate monthly programming costs per subscriber are in the $55-60 range in 2019 (including recently announced coverage of flagship Discovery networks), reflecting a premium paid for network carriage based on its new entrant scale," Morgan Stanley wrote. "Based on core subscription ARPU of $32/month (excluding the $8 for the On-Demand product) and $10-15/month per subscriber generated through advertising and Live add-on features (expanded DVR, unlimited screens), we estimate Hulu Live currently does not break-even on a gross profit basis."
That means every additional subscriber Hulu gets for its live-TV package is actually losing it money in the short term.
So what's the plan?
Recent comments made by Hulu CEO Randy Freer suggest that Hulu can slice and dice some of those programming costs. He told The Information that Hulu was considering launching a "skinnier TV bundle" for customers who don't want to pay $40 a month. He also spoke about wanting to "create packages that have a positive margin."
That makes sense if you see the live-TV package as primarily a way to get new customers in your ecosystem.
"Notably, Hulu Live could further support adoption of the core $8 On-Demand service, which we see driving total consolidated Hulu's EBIT profits by 2023E," Morgan Stanley wrote.
In that case, it's a rational move to try to strip away anything that isn't truly necessary from the live-TV bundle.
But that could mean bad news for TV networks focused on entertainment instead of news or sports, which get paid a carriage fee for every subscriber who has their channel in a package.
In a letter to shareholders Tuesday, the streaming giant Netflix gave a nod to that potential future that most likely put more fear into the hearts of some networks.
"Within linear TV, New Fox appears to have a great strategy, which is to focus on large simultaneous-viewing sports and news," Netflix wrote. "These content areas are not transformed by on-demand viewing and personalization in the way that TV series and movies are, so they are more resistant to the rise of the internet. Other linear networks are likely to follow this model over time."
Hulu seems to agree that the live-TV bundle should at least be slimmed down. That could mean that entertainment networks that were counting on live-TV bundles from new digital players to prop up their carriage fees may be in for a nasty surprise.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson fills people's hearts while he fills his bank accounts.
The wrestler-turned-actor may have come in fifth on Forbes' 2018 list of the world's 100 highest-paid celebrities, but he's number one for likability. Research company Morning Consult surveyed 6,609 Americans to determine who they loved the most out of Forbes' list, and Johnson came out on top.
Not only did Johnson top the likability list overall, but he did so in every demographic except boomers, which included men, women, millennials, and Gen X. For the boomers, Paul McCartney was the most-liked celebrity with an 83% favorable rating, but Johnson was a close second with 78%.
People don't have as high of an opinion of the Kardashians, though, particularly Kim. Kim Kardashian West landed at the bottom of the list overall and with every demographic except millennials. But even then, she was the second-least-liked celebrity, and her mother, Kris Jenner, was the least liked.
The top 10 most-liked entertainers included Johnson, Jackie Chan, Will Smith, Paul McCartney, Adam Sandler, J.K. Rowling, Robert Downey Jr, Billy Joel, The Eagles, and The Rolling Stones.
The bottom of the list included Sean Hannity, Howard Stern, Kylie Jenner, Rush Limbaugh, Kris Jenner, and Kim Kardashian West.
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YouTube stars Jake and Logan Paul are easy to hate. They’re loud, cocky, and have become incredibly wealthy (according to Forbes, each made over $10 million in 2017) in part by making terrible songs. They’re also two of YouTube’s most talented artists.
If you don’t watch their videos, you’re most likely to know them from a pair of incidents that got them branded as moral hazards. The first came in July 2017 when Jake, the younger of the two brothers, gave a smug, defiant interview to a television reporter who had spoken with his angry West Hollywood neighbors and climbed the reporter’s van. The second came on December 31, when Logan uploaded a video that featured him and his friends finding a suicide victim in a forest and making shock-induced jokes as a coping mechanism. Logan tried to position the video as an opportunity to discuss mental health, but the line between advocacy and exploitation was blurry, at best.
The video led YouTube to distance itself from Logan by limiting his ability to earn advertising revenue on the site, removing him from one of its original series ("Foursome"), and halting post-production on "The Thinning: New World Order," the sequel to 2016's "The Thinning," which was also produced by YouTube. On Wednesday, YouTube will release "The Thinning: New World Order" on its YouTube Premium subscription service, Variety reports, suggesting Logan is now on better terms with the site.
Jake and Logan’s behavior in each video deserves criticism, and many writers have made important points about the collateral damage a platform that rewards sensationalism and allows for immense popularity with limited institutional barriers can cause. But to focus entirely on the Paul brothers’ mistakes is to ignore some of today’s most exciting and innovative popular art.
The brothers’ video blogs, or "vlogs," resemble reality television made from the perspective of restless millennials who grew up on the internet, where you can flip between viral videos, memes, social media, and any other form of entertainment you can imagine in minutes. Jake and Logan’s approach to making videos is chaotic, but never unintelligible, turning unexciting activities — like shopping for clothes or driving to pick up a customized car — into playgrounds for visual, sonic, and performative experimentation. It’s like mixing avant-garde cinema with Instagram, and it looks and feels like nothing else in similarly popular films, television shows, or YouTube channels.
They're inventive and charismatic
The Paul brothers grew up in Westlake, Ohio, and first gained fame on Vine, the now-defunct six-second video platform, where they discovered a philosophy and set of stylistic techniques they would bring to YouTube. The philosophy was that every second must be used to entertain, and their style — fast-paced editing, frequent camera movement, big and energetic performances — grew from it.
Each brother has performed in more traditional settings, most notably Jake’s former role on the Disney Channel show "Bizaardvark," and Logan’s appearance on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." But both are best suited to the internet, where they’re not bound by traditional narrative structures.
While the Paul brothers have also made comedy skits and music videos, they’re most effective on their vlogs. If you watch one for the first time, you may find yourself captivated but a little confused, as the videos don’t follow the narrative conventions of any existing genre. It may be difficult to discern, from moment to moment, where the video is headed, and its title may hint at an event that doesn’t quite happen in the way you expect, or that only happens after a series of tangents.
But even at their most prosaic, the videos are never dull. You’re never asked to bide your time while waiting for the real excitement, because, like the best screen actors, the Paul brothers have a rare gift for engaging with the camera. Each brother has an unusually expressive face and body and a hyperactive sensibility suited for a platform that accommodates short attention spans. The Paul brothers don’t ask for your attention; they grab it.
Their charisma is a different kind than most other YouTube personalities have. It’s the movie-star kind, which is not just extroversion, but an awareness of how they will be seen by their audience, the ability to be accessible and a little opaque. At any given moment, each is the most compelling person in his videos. None of the childhood friends and YouTube personalities that appear alongside them present serious competition. They’re accessories.
Their videos blend genres and styles
The experience of watching Jake and Logan’s videos mirrors the experience of surfing the internet. Their videos are a frantic, improvisatory mash-up of genres and styles, equal parts reality show, diary, sketch comedy, behind-the-scenes documentary, experimental film, Instagram story, and clothing advertisement (each brother has a branded apparel line). One moment, they’ll address a hand-held camera as if taking a selfie or talking to a friend on FaceTime, the next, they’ll be the subject of an exuberant montage. It can feel like you’re watching several videos in the span of one or, more precisely, multiple videos put into a blender.
That may sound like a recipe for incoherence, but the Paul brothers have developed a thoroughly modern approach to narrative that holds the videos together, combining the orchestrated spontaneity of reality television with the urgency and immediacy of Snapchat and Vine. They don’t operate as if you’ve committed to watching them for an hour. They work under the assumption that to keep you from clicking to another video, they have to make every second count.
There are other YouTubers who share that attitude. But what makes the Paul brothers different is the scope of their ambition and the depth of their skill. Their videos are a more difficult balancing act, moving faster and engaging with more visual, sonic, and performative ideas. If other YouTubers are exploring uncharted territory, the Paul brothers are right by their side, juggling torches.
Logan is more sincere
Logan is the more sincere, reflective, and relatable of the two. In a video from April, titled, “The End of Logan Paul Vlogs...,” he suggests that he might retire his YouTube channel, but before he gets there, he puts on a riveting display of performative, stylistic, and conceptual invention.
In the video’s opening minutes, he addresses the camera from the backyard of his home in Los Angeles, referencing the premise implied by the video’s title without tackling it head-on. Instead, he teases and is teased by his friends and ends up dropping the matter. Though he stays within a small radius, Logan never stops talking or moving. The feeling of activity is visual, too. The camera shakes and zooms, graphics illustrate Logan’s dialogue, and the video’s editing creates the impression that Logan is almost teleporting around the frame.
The movement doesn’t stop, continuing with a flurry of visual effects, montages, and audio tricks as Logan picks up his customized Mercedes-Benz G-Class, which he spends much of the video’s middle segment driving. In the video’s final minutes, Logan thanks his fans for their support and reveals that, in classic Paul brother fashion, the "end" he hints at in the video’s title is a misdirect. He is not ending his channel, he says, just the habit of releasing a new video each day.
So the video’s title is a bit misleading. But, as in many of Logan and Jake’s videos, exactly what happens is beside the point. It’s how it happens that matters. It’s the way they talk and move, and how the camera and soundtrack compound their energy. The cumulative effect of their style is a sense of joy and discovery, even if it’s sometimes hidden beneath juvenile pranks.
Jake is more outlandish
Jake creates a little more distance between himself and his audience. He is less emotionally accessible and more prone to absurdist humor. For much of a video he released in April titled, "Jake Paul Yodeling in Walmart!! *Kicked Out*," he uses broad gestures and inflections that don’t resemble traditional human interaction. But rather than pushing the viewer away, he creates a sense of intimacy — the feeling of gaining access to the small group of friends around whom he feels most comfortable acting without inhibition.
The video begins with Jake and Kade Speiser, a fellow YouTube personality and member of Team 10 — Jake’s label for aspiring social-media stars — sitting in a bedroom in the Team 10 mansion and talking about Jake’s plan to imitate Mason Ramsey, who became a minor celebrity after a video of him yodeling in a Walmart went viral.
Jake and Speiser act in the way of longtime friends who have developed a kind of second language through inside jokes and common gestures. The video consists of the two planning the stunt, shopping for clothes that resemble what Ramsey wore in his video, performing the stunt, and taking pictures with fans. Like Logan, Jake creates a feeling of constant motion. There are graphics, cartoon sound effects, a distorted frame, a brief clip from "SpongeBob SquarePants," replays, visual filters, and slow motion, stitched together with frenetic (but precise) editing and handheld cameras. The stunt itself is childish, but it’s a Trojan horse for Jake’s boisterous talents.
The Paul brothers have rare skill sets
YouTube is full of would-be celebrities vying for your attention. What sets the Paul brothers apart is their rare combination of Hollywood charisma with an ability to translate the structures and rhythms of social media, memes, and internet videos into a coherent form of entertainment. There are other YouTubers, like Markiplier and Lilly Singh, who are magnetic on camera, but they’re often bound by conventional approaches to content and structure. On the flip side, some personalities, like VanossGaming, have an inventive approach to structure without a compelling on-screen presence.
The Paul brothers have both and have used them to envision expansive careers that take frequent, unpredictable turns. There is precedent for artists who work in two disciplines — television and podcasts, film and literature, music production and music management — less so for those work in five. In addition to their vlogs, clothing lines, music videos, and intermittent appearances in films and television shows, the Paul brothers have also dabbled in amateur boxing. (They fought fellow YouTube stars— and brothers — Deji and KSI in August).
Sometimes, their ambitions backfire. Their songs are almost unlistenable, and Team 10 appears to be in disarray, possibly due to Jake and his father's alleged mistreatment of some of the group's members. But the Paul brothers’ vision for a new kind of stardom is compelling. In their videos, you can sense a boundless energy ready to escape the frame. That energy can lead to stupid decisions. It can also make you feel like you’re watching the birth of a new medium.
How much are networks shelling out to bring Hollywood stars to TV?
In this age of proliferated programming, marquee names have become essential to bring sizable audiences to shows. And the competition among networks and producers has driven industry salaries to new heights.
On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the stars of HBO's "Westworld" would be getting big raises ahead of the sci-fi drama's third season.
At its height, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman reportedly negotiated $1 million salaries for the upcoming second season of HBO's Emmy-winning drama, "Big Little Lies."
Jim Parsons of CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" made headlines in August for walking away from a reported two-year, $50 million paycheck for two more seasons of the sitcom, which CBS subsequently decided to end in 2019.
Here's how much the highest-paid stars on TV are earning per-episode:
Note: Some salaries may include producing fees.
Jethro Nededog contributed to a previous version of this story.
$1,000,000 — Nicole Kidman, "Big Little Lies" (HBO)
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
$1,000,000 — Reese Witherspoon, "Big Little Lies" (HBO)
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
$1,000,000 — Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Epic Games has filed a lawsuit against two YouTubers for promoting the use of "Fortnite: Battle Royale" hacks on YouTube and selling cheating software on a private website. A copy of the claim obtained by TorrentFreak identifies Brandon Lucas of the YouTube channel "Golden Modz" and Colton Contor of the "Exentric" channel in the suit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina on October 10th.
The Golden Modz and Exentric YouTube channels specialize in videos showcasing cheat software in several popular games, including "Fortnite," "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds," "Grand Theft Auto V" and "Call of Duty." The software lets players do things that would otherwise be impossible in the game, like see enemies through walls or aim their shots automatically. Both channels showed the cheats in use against other players and contained links to purchase the software from third party websites in their video descriptions.
In their claim, Epic specifies nine videos published by the defendants that promote hacks for "Fortnite." These videos have already been flagged on YouTube for copyright infringement and are no longer available, though plenty of others that mention the use of cheats in different games are still available on both channels.
To quote Epic's claim, "Nobody likes a cheater. And nobody likes playing with cheaters."
Cheating will be a big problem if the games launch esports competitions
Epic claims that the sort of trolling promoted by these YouTube channels and the cheating software is detrimental to the experience of the average player and hurts the "Fortnite" community as a result. According to Epic, both Contor and Lucas have been banned from "Fortnite" in the past but continued to create new accounts for the free game using fake names.
Cheating has been especially rampant in Battle Royale games like "Fortnite" and "Player Unknown's Battlegrounds." The latter game banned 572,778 players during the month of September, which is down from a monthly peak of 1.6 million in April 2018. With both games exploring esports opportunities, keeping online play fair and legitimate is essential for keeping players invested in competition.
"The most visible harm from [the] defendants' acts and the use of the cheats they promote and sell to others may occur in a virtual world, but it is felt in the real one," Epic's claim reads. "[The] defendants' cheating and enabling others to cheat detract from the pleasure "Fortnite’s" players and audience take from the game."
Lucas, who uses the Golden Modz handle on YouTube and Twitter, has denied using his channel as a vehicle to sell cheat software, despite his videos sharing links to GoldenGodz.com and GTAGodz.com, a pair of sites dedicated to selling such software. The sites no longer show cheat packages for sale but archived versions show subscription and lifetime rates for "Fortnite" cheat software, selling for $54.99 and $299.99, respectively. Both sites also offer to purchase player accounts, which is also prohibited by "Fortnite's" terms of service. Epic's claim suggest that Lucas has a stake in both sites, but he has denied ownership. In his own defense, Lucas claims that other prominent YouTubers share unreleased content and unlicensed mods for the game without being targeted.
At the very least the case should stand as a warning to future "Fortnite" hackers; cheaters never prosper. Business Insider has reached out to Epic and the defendants for comment.
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has launched an investigation into the parent company of popular movie-ticket subscription service MoviePass for allegedly misleading investors, according to CNBC.
The attorney general's office is probing whether Helios and Matheson (HMNY) "misled the investment community regarding the company’s financials," CNBC reported, citing a "source familiar with the matter." The investigation is in its "early stages," according to the report.
Neither the attorney general's office nor the company immediately returned requests for comment from Business Insider.
Business Insider reported in August that Helios and Matheson had covered hundreds of millions in losses by selling millions of new shares of stock to shareholders, and that company CEO Ted Farnsworth had made several promises to investors at a July shareholders meeting that began to unravel soon after.
Business Insider also interviewed Helios and Matheson shareholders in July who expressed frustration with management. Many had seen their stakes dwindle over 99% in value and some had lost more than $100,000. Several also felt misled by Wall Street analysts who kept "buy" ratings on the stock while their banks made millions in fees selling Helios and Matheson stock as it collapsed.
Helios and Matheson has a long and complicated history that Business Insider outlined in a piece in July. The company was once the US subsidary of an Indian company (Helios and Matheson Information Technology) which stands accused of defrauding at least 5,000 creditors in India, including banks and senior citizens.
HMIT began to extricate itself from the US business in 2016 when HMNY merged with Farnsworth's money-losing startup, Zone Technologies. Since then, HMIT's ownership stake has dwindled, though executives from the Indian company remain involved with the MoviePass owner.
Helios and Matheson in New York bought MoviePass in August of last year, and drastically dropped the monthly price to $9.95, a move which meant that the company could lose money on some customers who went to just one movie per month. That move has meant a skyrocketing user base and losses to match.
In recent months, MoviePass has tried to get its cash burn under control by introducing features unpopular with users like limiting showtimes and capping usage at three movies per month. But it has continued to cover losses by selling new shares and diluting previous shareholders. This strategy has angered many investors.
On Tuesday, Helios and Matheson announced that it had postponed a crucial shareholders meeting until November 1. At the meeting, Helios and Matheson will ask for approval on an amendment for a one-time reverse stock split of up to 1-for-500 shares. The 1-for-500 reverse split is the latest attempt by Helios and Matheson to revive the stock, which if it continues trading below $1 could be delisted from the Nasdaq by mid-December.
However, the last reverse split Helios and Matheson enacted in July did not prove successful in stabilizing the stock price, as it began to crash immediately following the 1-for-250 reverse split.
Helios and Matheson stock was trading at around $0.02 on Wednesday.
Sometimes investors have a much better sense of what's in their best interest than the executives in charge of the companies they own or the advisors who get paid to tell them how to vote on company issues.
Such seems to be the case with the shareholders of Helios and Matheson, the beleaguered owner of MoviePass. They finally seeming to putting their collective foot down, in defiance of the company's management and even influential proxy advisors Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services.
Helios and Matheson is seeking investor approval for the second reverse-split of its stock in four months. Once a high-flier, the company's stock has been sunk under massive dilution and the huge cash outflow from MoviePass' money-losing subscription cinema ticket service and now trades at around 2 cents a share. With Helios and Matheson running the risk that its stock will be delisted by the Nasdaq market, it's hoping to reduce its share count and boost its stock price by as much as a factor of 500 to get back into compliance with listing regulations.
Investors seem to be dubious of the new reverse-split proposal
But the company seems to be having trouble getting shareholders on board.
It's not hard to find discontent among Helios and Matheson's investors. You need only check Twitter or the various online investor discussion boards.
While investors have been unhappy for months now, thanks to the company's slumping stock, their growing ire now seems to have put the reverse-split proposal in real jeopardy of failing.
On Monday, just three days before Helios and Matheson's special shareholder meeting was due to take place and the votes on the proposal officially counted, it issued a press release and sent out a proxy statement to shareholders noting that ISS and Glass Lewis were backing its reverse-split proposal. The proxy advisors had issued their recommendations weeks earlier, so the company wasn't exactly alerting investors to breaking news. Instead, its move to tout those recommendations in the closing days before a vote is finalized is just the sort of thing corporate managers do when they're worried about losing.
Then, the very next day, Helios and Matheson took the unusual step of delaying the shareholder meeting for two weeks, explaining that it wanted to give investors "more time to consider and vote upon the proposal." A company spokeswoman declined to say whether the company postponed the meeting because it was losing the vote, but you better believe that if the early returns were going Helios and Matheson's way, the meeting would have been held right on schedule.
Executives have done a great job of destroying shareholder value
Investors have good reason to oppose the reverse-split proposal, even if doing so puts the company in greater danger of having its shares delisted. Helios and Matheson's executives have driven the company into the dirt, destroying enormous amounts of shareholder value in the process and abusing investors' trust, even to the point where the company is now reportedly facing an investigation by New York's attorney general. Passing the proposal as written would give CEO Ted Farnsworth and his team leeway to do yet more damage.
Under the proposal, Helios and Matheson would essentially trade investors one new share of stock in the company for anywhere from two to 500 of its current shares. The move would affect the number of shares it has outstanding, the number of shares it has to set aside to pay off convertible notes, and the number of stock options it has outstanding. It would also immediately increase the company's stock price in inverse proportion to the reverse-split ratio.
What the proposal wouldn't do, though, is reduce the number of shares the company is authorized to issue. That amount would remain at 5 billion. So, one of the effects of the reverse-split would be to give the company lots more room to issue new shares.
Farnsworth and company have repeatedly taken advantage of just that latitude. In the last year, thanks in part to two shareholder-approved increases in Helios and Matheson's share count and its first reverse split in July, which reduced its outstanding shares and gave it more head room to issue new ones, the company's share count has increased nearly 3,900,00%, adjusting for that split.
The last reverse split is a bad portent for this one
However, investors don't have to look any further back than July to get a pretty good idea of what might happen if they pass another reverse split. Helios and Matheson's leaders offered some of the same rationale for that split as this one — that it was needed to boost the company's stock price to avert it being delisted from the Nasdaq. As with the current proposal, the company offered a range of ratios by which it might reverse split the stock, in that case from 1 to 2 on up to 1 to 250.
But at the shareholder meeting, Farnsworth tried to downplay the import of the reverse-split proposal, saying it was simply an "insurance policy" in case shareholders chose not to increase its share count. Either way, the company would get increased headroom to issue new shares.
After investors passed both proposals, Helios and Matheson took advantage of each of them. It reverse split its stock by 250-to-1, the maximum authorized by investors, freeing up as many shares as it could under that proposal. And then it proceeded in the coming weeks to sell shares like there was no tomorrow.
In just a week, the company's share count had already quadrupled. Two weeks later it was 100 times larger. By the middle of last month it had more than doubled again. Adding that increase to the billions of shares it had to set aside for its convertible notes, Helios and Matheson soon got to the point where it had more than maxed out the 5 billion shares it was authorized to issue. (The company has since renegotiated the terms of some of those notes, reducing the number of shares it needed to reserve.)
As you might imagine, with all that share issuance, the company's stock price plummeted. After trading at $22.50 a share immediately after the reverse split, it fell to below a $1 a share again within a week and was down below 10 cents a share within two weeks. It's been mired around 2 cents for weeks now. Thanks to that decline, the company not only doesn't meet the Nasdaq's per-share price requirements, it now falls shy of its market capitalization standards, meaning that even if the reverse-split boosts its stock price, it could still be delisted because it's not worth very much.
Thanks to all of its stock sales and debt issuance, Helios and Matheson raised some $210 million in just the first six months of this year. In that same period, its operations — which largely involved paying retail prices for millions of movie tickets that it gave away for free to customers — blew through $219 million.
The company looks set to do it all over again
The new reverse-split proposal would set Helios and Matheson up to do the same thing all over again. It already has authorization via regulatory filings to sell more shares. The split would give it billions of new shares it could issue to raise yet more funds that it can burn through, with few restrictions on management.
Both ISS and Glass Lewis declined to comment on their recommendations. Their reports on the issue were each terse. Neither proxy advisor seemed to take very seriously the previous dilution that Helios and Matheson has already inflicted on shareholders or how the proposal would give the company room to afflict them with still more.
But all indications are that investors are taking that prospect a lot more seriously than the proxy advisors and company executives. As well they should.
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As the year flies by, the list of canceled TV shows piles up.
While there's been somewhat of a quiet period since May, some networks have cut shows throughout the summer and fall.
The most recent cancelations come from Comedy Central and Netflix. Comedy Central announced that "Nathan for You" is ending after four seasons. And Netflix recently canceled "Iron Fist" after two seasons, and announced that "Orange is the New Black" will end with its upcoming seventh season.
ABC canceled the previously renewed "Roseanne" revival in late May, after Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. However, ABC debuted a spin-off called "The Conners" without Barr.
In other notable cancellations, USA's critically acclaimed "Mr. Robot" will end with its upcoming fourth season, and CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" is ending after 12 seasons.
We'll update this list as more are announced.
Here are all the shows that have been canceled this year, including those from networks and Netflix:
"Jean-Claude Van Johnson" — Amazon, one season
"I Love Dick" — Amazon, one season
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
A blockbuster movie starring Chinese actress Fan Bingbing and Bruce Willis has been scrapped, the director announced on Wednesday. It comes after the star was publicly disappeared and fined $129 million by the Chinese state over tax evasion.
The filming for "Air Strike," a World War II thriller had been completed and the movie due to release on October 26, the Associated Press reported. It also starred Adrien Brody, who won an Oscar for "The Pianist" in 2002.
Xiao Feng, the director of the film, on Wednesday wrote on microblogging site Weibo that it was "time to let go," without specifying the reasons for the cancelation.
"Leaving the movie is not the same as giving up. Just pity 'Air Strike,' the eight-year-old child!" Xiao wrote, suggesting that he spent eight years on the project.
Watch the movie trailer below:
It's not clear whether the actors, director, and other crew members had been paid for the movie in full prior to its cancelation.
The movie's cancelation is the latest development in Fan's recent troubles.
In May, she was accused of signing secret contracts for her projects to avoid paying higher taxes. Chinese state media said Fan used this tactic with "Air Strike," the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
In early July, Fan then disappeared from the public eye for three months amid those allegations, and was reportedly detained in a luxury resort until the Chinese government fined her $129 million for tax evasion in early October.
Fan broke her silence that same day, apologizing to the Chinese government and her fans, and saying she was "deeply ashamed" of her actions.
She was spotted leaving Beijing airport on Tuesday— her first public appearance since she vanished in July.
Fan's humbling served as a warning shot from China to show that nobody can escape their scrutiny.
Roderic Wye, an associate fellow at Chatham House and former first secretary in the British Embassy in Beijing, previously told Business Insider that China's message is that "nobody is too high, nobody is above, nobody can escape government scrutiny."
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As someone who owns a PlayStation 4 and a Nintendo Switch, I've never felt the need for more video games, so I hadn't given much consideration to Microsoft's Xbox One.
Microsoft is running a promotion with Taco Bell, of all companies, that begins on October 18 and ends on November 12.
If you buy Taco Bell’s $5 "Double Chalupa Box" — which consists of one double chalupa, one crunchy taco, cinnamon twists, a medium drink, and a humbling sense of regret — you’ll get a code that you can text or submit online for a chance to win a limited-edition platinum Xbox One X.
What's so cool about this Xbox One? Well, not only is it an incredibly powerful game console that also happens to look super sleek with that platinum finish, but according to Microsoft, the console "comes packaged with Taco Bell's famous 'ring' when powered on."
It sounds like this:
Come on. That's amazing.
In addition to the console, you'll also get an Xbox Elite wireless controller — in that same platinum finish as the console, which is, again, exclusive to the promotion — and a pair of 3-month memberships to Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold. All of this has a total value of around $600.
According to the rules, Microsoft and Taco Bell will be handing out 5,040 of these prizes to some lucky customers. The rules also state that you don't technically need to purchase anything for a chance to win the incredible Taco Bell Xbox; all you need to do is send your name, age street address, and email address on a properly stamped postcard, and mail that to this address:
Taco Bell and Xbox Game Code Request
P.O. Box 251328, West Bloomfield, MI 48325
Don’t submit your requests in an envelope, they won’t be accepted!
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to buy a few dozen Double Chalupa boxes. No reason.
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Next Friday, on October 26, the most anticipated game of the year arrives.
"Red Dead Redemption 2" is the next blockbuster game from the folks at Rockstar Games, the company that created "Grand Theft Auto" — which is exactly as big of a deal as it sounds.
"Grand Theft Auto 5" launched over five years ago. "Red Dead Redemption 2" is the first game from Rockstar since "GTA V." It's being billed as Rockstar's biggest, most ambitious game ever made. No pressure!
It was with all this context that I excitedly approached a recent opportunity to play "Red Dead Redemption 2" at Rockstar's Manhattan offices. I came away from the experience with a lot to say.
1. "Red Dead Redemption 2" is an attempt at something new for Rockstar Games, despite looking familiar.
When "Grand Theft Auto 3" arrived on PlayStation 2 in 2001, it was a precedent-setting game. It popularized the concept of so-called open-world games — games in which players were free to travel through massive, nonlinear environments ("GTA 3" had a New York City-esque open world named Liberty City). It was a smash hit, inspiring copycats (remember the "True Crime" series?) and nearly two decades' worth of sequels.
Since "GTA 3," subsequent Rockstar projects have been iterations on that original concept: narrative-driven, single-player games set in elaborate open-world environments, whether a 1980s-flavored version of Miami or a turn-of-the-century American frontier, but it's always a third-person action game set in an open world.
"Grand Theft Auto 5," from 2013, is the most recent example: a beautiful third- and first-person action game set in a contemporary version of Los Angeles (called Los Santos) and the surrounding area. "GTA 5" added a robust online multiplayer mode to the concept of open-world gaming — a similar mode is coming to "Red Dead Redemption 2," albeit a bit after launch— but was otherwise another iteration of the formula Rockstar has been following for almost 20 years.
"Red Dead Redemption 2" aims to break that tradition.
It's the first game from Rockstar that's intended to move the genre forward — the genre Rockstar created in the first place. And it's doing that by making everything in its vast world interactive, however banal that thing might be in another game.
2. Everyone is a potential interaction.
In "Red Dead Redemption 2," you can interact with every person. Really!
And I'm not just talking about punching and kicking and horse trampling: You can greet, cajole, or soothe every person in the world. Ever person your character sees in the world is a potential interaction.
Maybe you just want to say hi? Go right ahead. The person may respond by telling you to go straight to hell. Or maybe he or she will just wave!
Worse, the people you see may have feelings about you from the jump. As I walked through a small town as Arthur Morgan, a man standing alongside a saloon yelled out after me. Turns out I'd been in a recent bar fight and done something less than honorable. This man — a complete stranger — is now yelling at me, alerting everyone around that I did something less than honorable.
I had a few options: I could try to placate him ("diffuse"); I could ignore him; or I could get aggressive. Turns out, the stranger with the loud mouth didn't have a lot to say when Arthur pointed his gun in said man's face.
But even that act had consequences, as I'd intimidated someone with a weapon and lots of people saw. The law was after me, so I headed out of town.
3. Your gun isn't always the solution.
I didn't need to pull my gun on that stranger, but just the act of pulling it out in aggression and pointing it — no bullets fired — was enough to end the potential altercation.
There's a whole mechanic dedicated to holstering and drawing your weapon, and there's a good reason for that: People react to you differently based on whether your gun is loose.
Rather than pulling your gun, you're able to focus on individuals, which then offers a few different options. You could also just pull your gun and see what happens, but, as in real life, it's a pretty bad way to say hello.
It's a novel addition, but the implications are what matters most: Interaction with the world of "Red Dead Redemption 2" becomes less binary as a result. You have a wider range of ways to interact than just "Do I kill this person or not?"
And that's meaningful! It helps to make the world feel alive.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The horror genre has never looked better at the box office than in the past two years, and the new "Halloween" movie is poised to continue that win streak.
The movie is projected to debut to at least $65 million this weekend, which would be one of the biggest openings for a horror movie of all time. In fact, according to Fandango, "Halloween" is the online ticket service's biggest horror preseller of the year. It has sold more advance tickets than "The Nun," the previous top horror movie of the year in presale tickets. This comes just a month after "The Nun" shattered expectations despite poor reviews and opened with $53.5 million, and a year after "It" grossed a whopping $123 million in its first weekend.
That's not to mention the stunning success of last year's "Get Out" and this year's "A Quiet Place," each of which far exceeded its production budget in box-office take. Even "Hereditary," which divided audiences this year, is the studio A24's highest-grossing movie yet.
Exhibitor Relations' senior box-office analyst, Jeff Bock, told Business Insider that he thought the movie could make $65 million to $70 million, up from the $50 million to $60 million he projected in September, when he spoke with Business Insider about "The Nun." Either way, Bock says he has "no doubt" that "Halloween" will be a smash in its opening weekend because the studio behind the movie, Blumhouse Productions, "knows how to construct a film and market it."
It's not just the horror genre that is having a moment, though. The October box office is enjoying an impressive run as well. "Venom" opened with $80 million earlier this month, the biggest October opening weekend ever. And despite such a big opening for "Venom," the Oscar hopeful "A Star is Born" still made over $42 million when it opened at the same time.
Both movies are holding steady heading into their third weekends, but "Halloween" is expected to slash its way to the top of the box office.
When Counterpart International project director Noel Dickover isn’t working on initiatives to get people more involved in social change, he carves pumpkins.
He’s become well known as a master pumpkin carver and has been featured on NPR, Wired, and a number of local news organizations.
In years past, he's created a to-scale replica of R2-D2 and the Death Star, which was named Wired's Geekiest Pumpkin in 2007.
It all began when his brother found a pumpkin carving guide in 1997. Intrigued, Dickover decided to make his own patterns and begin carving. His kids went crazy for it, especially when he carved a pumpkin with Star Wars' Darth Maul on it. Since then, it's become a family tradition and, over time, his carvings have become more elaborate.
On his website Fantasy Pumpkins, Dickover and his entire family post incredible and detailed carvings of everything from superheroes to horror monsters. Dickover may be the ringleader of Fantasy Pumpkins (and the only one doing pumpkins weighing more than 150 lbs), but his family members sure can hold their own when it comes to carving.
Every year, a few thousand people come to see the pumpkin carvings in front of Dickover's house. He does a Death Star pumpkin every year.
Dickover and his family often like to do current pop culture carvings like this one of Daenerys Targaryen from "Game of Thrones."
To make a carving, Dickover usually starts by making a pattern on Photoshop. To do that, he takes an image and converts it to three colors.
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One of the main highlights from Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, “Mid90s” (in select theaters Friday), is the authentic performances he gets out of his cast. Hill uses a mix of kid actors and non-professionals to depict a group of teen skateboarders who befriend a 13-year-old and introduce him into their world of sick skate moves and even sicker jokes they throw at one another.
And though Hill will admit the cast watched mostly skate videos to get in tune with the decade the story is set in, there was one movie he required all of them to watch.
No, it wasn’t Larry Clark’s gritty X-rated classic, “Kids,” which many have compared “Mid90s” to. It’s a movie you probably have never seen, but should seek out: “This Is England.”
Released in 2006 (and not finding much attention outside of the UK), director Shane Meadows’ look at a young boy who becomes friends with a group of skinheads is highlighted by the incredible performance by its lead, Thomas Turgoose.
Turgoose plays Shaun, a 12-year-old outcast who finds acceptance from the group who noticed that he gets constantly picked on at school (but throws a pretty mean punch). We then follow Shaun as he falls deeper in the group, including shaving his head and gaining a close connection with an older skinhead who has just got out of prison, Combo (Stephen Graham).
Though “Mid90s” is a very different story than “This Is England,” Hill was taken by how real all the characters felt.
“Shane Meadows made such a beautiful film and also showing how young kids can give such raw performances,” Hill told Business Insider. “I wanted the kids to see that acting can be like this. That's the acting I like. That's the naturalism that I like. So I didn't show them a lot of movies. The whole thing was to make a reverse skate video. In skate videos growing up it would be all skateboarding and three seconds of these kids causing chaos and really connecting and just hanging out. When I was a kid that's what I wanted. So this is the reverse. Kids connecting and three seconds of skateboarding. To invert that was really my goal.”
Hill said he was also personally inspired by the 2009 movie, "Fish Tank."
But the process for Hill to get the performances he wanted didn’t end with them watching ‘This Is England.” Hill said he helped the kids get in their characters through hours of talks with them.
“You have to develop a true trust and connection with kids if you are going to work with them,” Hill said. “Because you're asking them to be vulnerable and you're asking them to do things that people don't want to do, let alone someone who is going through an awkward time in their life. So for me, I was like, ‘I will not let you down.’ I would just have long conversations with each kid about what's happening underneath and what they're carrying with them no matter what they are saying. That's hours and hours and hours of conversations about feelings, about life experiences, about goals. Just talking about who these people are eventually absorbs into you. That's how I act. That is just hours and hours and hours of thinking and talking.”
The result has led to “Mid90s” finding high acclaim from critics, as the movie is sporting an 88% rating currently on Rotten Tomatoes. And Hill's cast now has a new life ambition.
"Now they are obsessed with film," he said. "They want to act."
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