Articles on this Page
- 11/02/18--07:28: _I find myself watch...
- 11/02/18--07:50: _Spotify is testing ...
- 11/02/18--08:05: _This NYC ballet dan...
- 11/02/18--08:22: _Netflix CEO Reed Ha...
- 11/02/18--13:32: _The newest 'Overwat...
- 11/02/18--14:00: _How Hollywood makes...
- 11/03/18--09:55: _The 7 movies with t...
- 11/03/18--10:00: _Online scammers are...
- 11/03/18--10:01: _Google's new video-...
- 11/03/18--10:07: _The 7 most incredib...
- 11/04/18--05:30: _There are over 70 p...
- 11/04/18--11:13: _Money troubles, feu...
- 11/04/18--14:56: _Disney is reportedl...
- 11/04/18--15:02: _Actor Edward Norton...
- 11/05/18--06:08: _What you need to kn...
- 11/05/18--06:48: _John Oliver called ...
- 11/05/18--07:44: _Kanye West says his...
- 11/05/18--07:45: _'Venom' gives Sony ...
- 11/05/18--09:22: _After backlash, NBC...
- 11/05/18--09:26: _'Bohemian Rhapsody'...
- I've been watching more movies and TV shows with the subtitles on, even when I don't necessarily need them.
- You should try it, too, as there are several benefits to subtitles.
- Spotify appears to be testing an app for the Apple Watch.
- Screenshots were uploaded to Reddit on Friday.
- 11/02/18--08:05: This NYC ballet dancer trains Victoria's Secret models
- ModelMiranda Kerr is just one of the high-profile clients ballet dancer Mary Helen Bowers has trained with her ballet-integrated workout, Ballet Beautiful.
- The fitness regimen has a strong celebrity following — Bowers has worked with other Victoria's Secret models like Lily Aldridge, as well as actress Natalie Portman for her role in the movie "Black Swan."
- Watch the video above to learn how she created a workout that gives Victoria's Secret Angels the strength and posture to hold up those wings.
- Netflix CEO Reed Hastings shares a story with employees to help them understand why some sexual harassment victims don't report incidents.
- "Statistics don’t move people, stories move people," Hastings said.
- Hastings tells employees about a colleague who was sexually harassed by a male superior and never reported it.
- "It’s really high stakes to report an incident of harassment, and that’s why a lot of people don’t report it," he added.
- The 29th "Overwatch" hero, Ashe, was revealed during BlizzCon 2018.
- Ashe is the leader of the Deadlock Gang and has a longstanding grudge against McCree, one of the original "Overwatch" heroes.
- She is a damage hero with a mix of ranged weapons and a unique support ability as her ultimate.
- Ashe will be playable on the PC test server before arriving for free on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the coming weeks.
- The Viper is Ashe's main weapon, a semi-automatic rifle. The gun is capable of quick shots, but does more damage when she aims down the sights.
- Dynamite explodes in an area after a short delay, dealing damage over time. Ashe can shoot the dynamite to trigger the explosion early.
- Coach Gun is a short range shotgun that knocks enemies away and can be used to propel Ashe in different directions.
- B.O.B is Ashe's ultimate, calling in an omnic member of her gang for additional fire support.
- 11/02/18--14:00: How Hollywood makes fake blood for TV and movies
- If you've ever seen a horror movie, you've seen some fake blood.
- There's a pretty simple formula for creating blood that looks real and there are even special techniques to splashing and spraying it to look like someone has been injured or killed.
- In the video above, special effects specialist Pam Elliott of Special Effects Unlimited Inc. shows us how it's done.
- Online scammers are targeting "Fortnite: Battle Royale" players with fake offers for free v-bucks, the game's digital currency.
- Players use v-bucks to purchase cosmetic items and skins; the currency can be earned through playing or purchased outright in the game's store.
- More than 4,700 websites are fraudulently offering free v-bucks as a front for phishing and information collection.
- Though "Fortnite" is a free game, players spend more than $200 million each month on v-bucks. The best way to avoid being scammed is to buy them from in the game directly.
- Google's ProjectStream lets you play blockbuster video games with your internet browser, if you've got a strong enough internet connection.
- Using ProjectStream, the visuals and controls of "Assassin's Creed: Odyssey" match the look and feel of playing the game on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
- If ProjectStream and other cloud gaming platforms can provide a streaming experience that feels consistent with playing on console, they can lower the price of entry for high-end video games by hundreds of dollars.
- Cloud gaming will eventually kill consoles if it can provide gamers with a healthy library of streaming games at the right price.
- Orson Welles' final movie, "The Other Side of the Wind," will be available on Netflix on Friday.
- It marks a huge cinematic moment, as the movie was considered lost forever due to Welles never finishing the movie before his death and its legal woes.
- Some of the main people involved with picking up where Welles left off spoke to Business Insider about the decades-long process to get the movie to audiences.
- According to Variety, Disney is developing a Marvel limited series starring Falcon and Winter Soldier.
- It raises further questions about Captain America's fate in "Avengers 4," as the two are his best friends in the comics and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- If Captain America dies as speculated, a show starring the two could deal with the aftermath of that.
- Edo is a data and measurement startup with a database of 47 million television airings that helps marketers analyze the creative and placement of their TV ads.
- Edward Norton and Daniel Nadler founded the firm, which has raised $12 million in series A funding.
- The TV-tech industry is exploding in terms of funding, and a growing number of firms promise advertisers granular stats about their TV campaigns.
- 11/05/18--06:08: What you need to know in advertising today
- John Oliver called out HBO's new parent company, AT&T, on Sunday's "Last Week Tonight" for taking so long to denounce Iowa Representative Steve King.
- "The news really shouldn’t be these companies bailed on him, so much as they were okay with him for a shockingly long time," Oliver said.
- AT&T announced recently that it would stop contributing to King's re-election campaign.
- Kanye West tweeted "McDonald's is my favorite restaurant" this weekend.
- West has a long history of fast-food obsession, name-dropping chains including McDonald's, Chipotle, and Ruby Tuesdays in songs.
- However, West has made investments in McDonald's rivals, buying the rights to franchise Fatburger and — as a wedding president to Kim Kardashian-West — Burger King.
- Despite abysmal reviews, "Venom" is a hit with audiences and has grossed over $500 million worldwide.
- The movie is Sony's first jump back into the Spider-Man universe without Marvel Studios in its corner since "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" misfired in 2014.
- Box-office experts agree that the movie's success is no fluke, and is the rebound Sony needed.
- "If they consistently make films audiences want to see, Disney will have to buy Sony to get Spider-Man back," said Exhibitor Relations senior box-office analyst Jeff Bock.
- Sony has multiple Spider-Man projects in development, and a "Venom" sequel is highly likely.
- After a backlash, NBC is pulling an ad it aired during "Sunday Night Football," and Fox News is removing it as well.
- CNN had deemed the ad too racist to air.
- The 30-second ad, approved by President Donald Trump, attempted to connect an undocumented immigrant convicted of killing two police officers with the so-called migrant caravan, though there is no connection.
Lately I've been watching more movies and TV shows with subtitles on. And I'm really into it.
It started out of necessity. Too often I'd find myself missing what somebody was saying on the screen, especially during those quiet-but-crucial moments in movies and shows. Adding subtitles negated the need for rewinding over and over again.
But when I kept the subtitles on, even when I didn't need to rewind for that moment I missed, I found myself catching more details than ever before.
I was learning character names, and their proper spellings. I was catching important lines said off-screen. I was catching song lyrics.
Reading the words on screen gave me a new level of comprehension, even for shows or movies I've seen more than once. I could actually see the names of diseases, and medicines, and procedures while watching medical dramas. Plots became generally easier to follow. And I grew an appreciation for shows that were well-written — seeing the script for "The Haunting of Hill House" gave me a deeper level of appreciation for the wordsmiths behind the show.
Subtitles aren't always ideal — they do kind of ruin some stand-up comedy sets, for example — but give them a try sometime. At the very least, we could all do with reading more often.
Here's something that should make Apple fans who prefer Spotify happy: The streaming service appears to be beta testing an app for the Apple Watch.
"Just updated the TestFlight build, and there's now an Apple Watch app. Right now it's limited to controlling playback on the phone, however (no offline support)," the original poster, EdmundFitzgerald29, wrote.
"We’re always testing new products and experiences, but have no further news to share at this time," a Spotify representative told Business Insider.
Spotify fans have been demanding this feature — some people have even made unauthorized third-party versions while they wait for an official Apple Watch app.
HEY @SPOTIFYSA EVER A CHANCE YOUR AMAZING APP WILL HAVE ITS OWN SPOT ON AN APPLE WATCH?— I'M KEENAN (@KEENANMULVANEY) October 31, 2018
However, officially, Spotify confirmed that it's not publicly planning to release this feature, saying last year that the status of Spotify on Apple Watch is "not right now."
"We wanted to post a new update to confirm this idea's status as 'Not Right Now'. We don't comment on any ideas that involve third parties, but if we have any public news about Spotify on Apple Watch we will announce it on our News Blog first," Spotify wrote on its community forum in August 2017.
Mary Helen Bowers has been training Victoria's Secrets models for years with Ballet Beautiful Fitness. After dancing with New York City Ballet for 10 years, she took a break to go back to school. After graduating from Columbia, she worked with Natalie Portman on "Black Swan," and subsequently created her ballet-integrated exercise regimen. Since launching, she has gained a strong celebrity following, including several Victoria's Secret Angels.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Mary Helen Bowers: I'm Mary Helen Bowers, founder of Ballet Beautiful Fitness. I danced with New York City Ballet for 10 years. Ballet Beautiful is really born from my experience as a professional dancer and that whole life experience of being a dancer, which is so incredibly physical, where you are using your body to express your art. And I had to learn, and it took a lot of trial and error for me to figure out the best system to take care of my body, to prevent injury, to feel my strongest, my leanest, and my best.
Once I left the company, I took a break from dancing. I needed time where I wasn't in a dance studio, where I didn't have that pressure to look a certain way, to perform a certain way. And when I wanted to start working out I had gained weight, my body had changed. I also didn't want to go back into a ballet studio, I felt self-conscious. So I started picking up with my old exercises. I would do 45 minutes a day. And my body started to change. I got leaner and really all of my ballet muscles kind of came back into use. And with that process, my whole body began to change.
I started sharing my workout with friends. All of our clients have really been built through word of mouth. One of the first Victoria's Secret Angels that I worked with was Miranda Kerr, who is a long-time client and a very dear friend of mine. We're still working together today. And it's been fun to train with people like Miranda and like Lily Aldridge. Through having a baby, through, maybe, a second pregnancy.
For some people it's through multiple seasons of doing a show like Victoria's Secret, or a big film, or runway moment. But it's been really exciting, too, for me, to take these women through some really momentous moments in their careers. And be there to support them, to help them feel strong, to help them feel confident, and perform at their best level as well.
With the Angels, they're training really, really, hard. I'm using ballet inside the workout, but I'm thinking of it as a really, really focused, crazy, I want the deepest burn. I want to give them the biggest impact. We're trying to make their abs as toned as possible, to make their butts as lifted and toned as possible, to give them sleek definition through their legs. And beautiful posture and strength to hold, those wings for example, which really weigh a lot.
So it's not that I'm giving them a workout that someone else couldn't do. But certainly we are doing a really intensified version of the program.
A mutual friend that I had danced with, with New York City Ballet, connected me with Natalie. She was in town. She was looking for a new trainer and for somebody to help prepare her for "Black Swan." She danced really seriously until she was about 12 or 13, when her acting career took off. So we had to kind of bring her up to speed with her dancing.
"Black Swan," I think, played a huge role in bringing ballet into the spotlight, making it cool, making it hip and relevant in pop culture. And of course, Natalie's role in that was huge. And I was so fortunate to have been such a big part of that film. And it also brought ballet fitness into the press, into I think, the sort of lexicon of the everyday woman.
You don't have to be a professional dancer or to have trained your body for a dozen years to experience ballet, to bring it into your home. You feel better, you have more energy. Your body feels stronger. You start to see results. It's really, really motivating. And as you get going, you can build that momentum to make fitness a more regular part of your life, a larger part of your life. You can prioritize.
And it takes some work to say, "I'm gonna carve this time out just for me." Don't wait for life to be perfect because it's busy and it's messy, and you just have to start where you are.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings shared at the Wall Street Journal's recent Women in the Workplace gala (via Quartz) that he tells a story to employees about a colleague being sexually harassed to demonstrate why some victims don't report incidents.
"Statistics don’t move people, stories move people," Hastings said.
Hastings said that a Netflix colleague faced "tremendous sexual harassment for two years" from a male superior, but didn't report it out of fear that it wouldn't be dealt with properly, or that she might lose a job she loved because of it.
"Finally one of her colleagues reported it, and once we found out we promptly investigated it and fired him," Hastings said. "Only later, as I got to know the victim, she explained to me that she loved her job, and she wasn’t sure what would happen if she brought it up. She wasn’t sure if we would deal with it. She wasn’t sure if we would fire him. And you know, this is a highly competent, professional person."
Hastings added, "It’s really high stakes to report an incident of harassment, and that’s why a lot of people don’t report it."
Hastings has told this story to Netflix employees "again and again" to try and hammer the point home, he said.
NOW WATCH: How 'The Price Is Right' is made
The latest hero to join the cast of "Overwatch" is Ashe, the leader of the Deadlock Gang. Ashe was revealed during BlizzCon, Activision-Blizzard's annual fan conference.
She is the 29th "Overwatch" hero and the first damage hero added to the game since "Doomfist" arrived in July 2017.
Here's a quick breakdown of Ashe's abilities
A new animated short released during BlizzCon shows a bit of Ashe's history with McCree, one of the original "Overwatch" heroes. The two gunslingers find themselves in a stand-off over a valuable payload on the familiar Route 66 map.
Ashe will be playable on the PC test server before arriving for free on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the coming weeks.
Following is the transcript of the video.
Pam: This is the lab, basically, where we do all of our, all of our mixing and potion-ing. So as you can probably tell, we've mixed a few batches of blood on this counter, but I can take you through a batch if you like.
Most of your run-of-the-mill bloods start off with corn syrup, you know, it gives it a little viscosity, if it was going to be a regular everyday blood, we'd put some soap in it, because that helps it clean up.
Interviewer: Oh really?
Pam: Like when you, when you get it in your wardrobe or something, it helps it wash out. If you were to just put color in here right now, it would kinda come out looking like cherry cough syrup because blood is a little opaque, it's not completely see-through, so we add an opacifier to it, to make it opaque before we start to color it.
So, basically, what you get is kind of this white-looking slurry, then we can start to color it. And we go through a lot of food coloring. Obviously, the base is red. Now, you're never really going to get to a really realistic blood red with just red food color, so what we do is we add a little blue, or black, and then that gives us a little depth. So now you know, it looks more like your classic, classic blood.
Now, we can take this, and take it out here and do a little something with it if you like.
Interviewer: Yeah, sure.
Pam: So we can do the, maybe a blood spray, and maybe the you know, classic blow out the back of your head on the wall kind of thing, if you want?
Interviewer: Yeah, sure!
Pam: For this, sometimes, you'd hide them behind somebody, and then, you know, at the moment where they get shot in the head, then splat against the wall.
Three, two, one... Now if we do more pressure, then it's a little more violent.
Interviewer: Right. Okay yeah go for it.
Pam: Okay, three, two, one. No!
Interviewer: Wow, that is brutal.
Pam: So this is going to be more directed.
Pam: That's for when you get sliced in the neck and-- it sprays, it sprays out. So if you're doing blood on a floor that you can't really get blood on because it's gonna stain, or on carpet or you know stuff like that, then we make these rubber ones that we can just throw down on the floor and then pick up and go away.
Actress Amber Heard's latest movie isn't just a bomb, it's one of the biggest bombs of all time.
The movie, "London Fields," based on the 1989 novel by Martin Amis, debuted over the weekend with just over $168,000, according to Box Office Mojo. It made only $300 per screen on average. That's one of the worst box-office takes of all time for a movie opening wide on 600 screens or more.
According to Variety, the movie has had a bumpy road to theaters amidst a wave of legal battles. In 2015, director Matthew Cullen sued producers Chris Hanley and Jordan Gertner, who countersued and claimed Cullen went over his budget for the movie. The producers also sued Heard, claiming she breached her contract, but Heard countersued Hanley and Gertner.
Critics did the movie no favors, either. It has a 0% critic score on review-aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
We rounded up some of the other worst box-office openings of all time for movies premiering on over 600 screens, and ranked them based on numbers from Box Office Mojo, adjusted for inflation. We also included the original opening and adjusted total domestic gross, along with what critics said about the movie.
Below are the seven worst box-office openings of all time:
7. "Men, Women & Children" (2014)
Adjusted opening: $337,400
Number of theaters: 608
Adjusted domestic gross:$777,300
What critics said: "The dozen or so main actors do their best to breathe nuance into characters that are standing in for social statements." — Richard Corliss, Time
Description: "'MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN' follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives. The film attempts to stare down social issues such as video game culture, anorexia, infidelity, fame hunting, and the proliferation of illicit material on the internet. As each character and each relationship is tested, we are shown the variety of roads people choose - some tragic, some hopeful - as it becomes clear that no one is immune to this enormous social change that has come through our phones, our tablets, and our computers."
6. "The Passion Recut" (2005)
Adjusted opening: $319,100
Original opening: $223,789
Number of theaters: 957
Adjusted domestic gross: $724,800
What critics said: "It was the palpable realness of the violence in 'The Passion of the Christ,' the image of flesh transformed into meat, that gave the film not only its reason for being, but also its only point of cinematic interest. What remains now of the film is just blunt-force dramatics and kitsch." — Manohla Dargis, New York Times
5. "Transylmania" (2009)
Adjusted opening: $317,000
Original opening: $263,941
Number of theaters: 1,007
Adjusted domestic gross: $477,600
What critics said: "'Transylmania' is such a colossal comedic misfire that it makes the execrable 'Scary Movie' films look like masterworks of Preston Sturges-esque genius by comparison." — Steven Hyden, A.V. Club
Description: "Stoked over the smokin’ Romanian hottie he’s meet online, an über-randy college student talks his dimwitted friends into joining him for a semester of beer, babes and bongs at what they think is a prestigious Transylvanian university. What they discover instead is a creepy castle populated by a torture-loving mad scientist, an overcybersexed humpback, the nubile spirit of a decomposed sorceress and a bevy of horny vampire chicks that have finally found a student body they can really sink their fangs into."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The popularity of "Fortnite: Battle Royale" continues to surge and the free game is raking in more than $200 a month in revenue for its creator, Epic Games. While "Fortnite" is free-to-play, players can purchase a digital currency, v-bucks, to unlock cosmetic items and other content within the game. Players can also earn v-bucks over time by playing the game, though the rate of return is rather slow.
Items purchased with v-bucks don't impact the game directly, but the coolest looking cosmetics come with a high price tag. There are those willing to pay $50 or more to buy a certain outfit, while others need to play for hours to unlock the same skin. As a result, some "Fortnite" players resort to seeking out free v-bucks offers online, in an effort to avoid investing their own time and money.
Unfortunately, offers for free v-bucks are largely predatory, providing a front for phishing websites and other scams. These free v-bucks offers are primarily shared through social media and redirect the user to a separate website. These websites often ask users to provide their "Fortnite" account login, email, or other personal information. In some cases, they request the user to prove they are human by completing other "free offers" or surveys for things like iPhones and gift cards. Other sites require users to share specific links or invite friends to earn points towards v-bucks.
While most adults should be familiar with these sorts of phishing scams, "Fortnite" has a large audience of young children. Based on its terms of service, "Fortnite" requires players to be 12-years-old or older to make an account, but younger players have no problem accessing the free game on their own. But when parents aren't willing to fund their child's gaming, offers for free v-bucks immediately become appealing.
ZeroFOX Research confirmed more than 53,000 alerts for "Fortnite"-related scams in a one-month period between September and October. The vast majority, 86 percent, came from social media posts while specific web domains and YouTube videos made up the rest. ZeroFox reports that more than 4,770 domains are currently offering v-bucks scams, and roughly 1,400 different YouTube videos have combined for more than a million views. Scammers have also targeted "Fortnite" players on mobile phones by offering fake "Fortnite" apps and downloads for Android devices.
Demand for v-bucks will persist so long as "Fortnite" remains popular, but players and parents should be careful about trying to cut corners with third-party offers. The best way to avoid scams is to only purchase v-bucks directly from the "Fortnite" store — and never share your account information online.
SEE ALSO: Fortnite made $318 million in May 2018
Earlier this month Google rolled out a closed beta test for ProjectStream, a video game streaming service that lets you play high-quality video games via the Chrome browser. The beta test includes just one game, the recently released "Assassin's Creed: Odyssey."
Developed by Ubisoft, "Assassin's Creed" is the sort of blockbuster game that would traditionally require a $400 console or gaming computer to play. ProjectStream significantly reduces that barrier to entry; the sole requirement is a 25 mbps or faster internet connection, and controllers are optional.
Having already played "Odyssey" on PlayStation 4, I was skeptical of how ProjectStream would compare to the console experience. After all, ProjectStream isn't the first cloud-based video game streaming service and the technology hasn't been a hit so far. Sacrificing graphic-quality or settling for less responsive controls has felt like a requirement for past cloud gaming services, and performance varies greatly depending on the game. Given that "Odyssey" is a brand new game with a huge open world, I was skeptical whether ProjectStream would be able to keep up.
Playing for the first time on a MacBook Pro, my concerns were quickly put to rest. At its best, ProjectStream's version of "Odyssey" felt identical to playing on PlayStation, the game immediately recognized the PlayStation 4 controller I connected via Bluetooth and showed the correct button icons on screen. There was no noticeable delay in the controls and the visuals seemed overall consistent with what I saw on PS4, though "Odyssey" does have additional support for 4K and HDR on consoles and PC.
I tried ProjectStream with three different computers with three different network scenarios; a 2017 MacBook Pro on 250 mbps wifi, an HP hybrid laptop on a 50 mpbs wifi connection, and my gaming PC with a 970 GTX graphics card on a 1 gbps connection. The experience felt pretty much identical across the three computers, making their difference in processing power feel insignificant.
Running on the slowest internet connection, the HP laptop did experience some brief moments of instability where the image would appear somewhat pixelated and the controls would freeze, but the game would return to normal after a few seconds. On my gaming PC and the MacBook, ProjectStream was essentially flawless.
Consistency is the most encouraging factor of ProjectStream. Knowing that the experience playing via the Google Chrome browser matches console gameplay regardless of the computer I'm using — as long as the internet speed if fast enough — is great motivation to leave my PlayStation version of the game behind. ProjectStream also carries my game save over automatically so I can easily continue where I left off, whether I'm playing at work, at home, or at a friend's house. Unfortunately ProjectStream doesn't work on smartphones or tablets just yet, but it would be surprising if Google can't find a way to make the service functional on their own Android devices.
ProjectStream represents a convincing jump in cloud gaming technology at a time where gamers are wondering if the next generation of video game consoles will prioritize streaming content over traditional media. ProjectStream takes advantage of Google's massive server infrastructure and development resources, showcasing a beta product that gamers can be confident in. But even if the technology can match the experience of an Xbox or PlayStation, the next important step will be finding a way to deliver a full library of new and old video games at a price that makes sense.
Google will also be competing head-to-head with endemic video game brands as it enters the game streaming space. So far the most functional cloud gaming options have been Sony's PlayStation Now and Nvidia's GeForce Now, but neither service feels like a true alternative to buying an expensive console or PC. PlayStation Now offers a preselected library with hundreds of games for $20 a month for PS4 and PC, but newer titles are not included. GeForce Now gives players access to specific titles they've already purchased for their PC library and charges $25 per 20 hours of streaming time. For reference, "Assassin's Creed: Odyssey" costs $60 to own and takes at least 30 hours to complete.
Shortly after the rollout of the ProjectStream beta, Microsoft announced its own cloud gaming platform, Project xCloud. Project xCloud will stream games to both PCs and mobile devices with a launch planned for 2019. Microsoft has already shown off touchscreen controls for tablets and peripherals to use Xbox controllers with smartphones. Microsoft already has a separate game subscription service with Xbox Game Pass, which currently players the ability to fully download games on PC and Xbox One instead of streaming them.
During its 2018 keynote, Microsoft executive Phil Spencer teased that the new Xbox devices would make use of cloud gaming as well. Spencer said the company's goal with Project xCloud is to reach the two billion people playing games around the world, regardless of the hardware they play on.
It will take some time for publishers and gaming platforms to establish a market for streaming games, but ProjectStream has shown that the future of gaming will not depend on selling consoles; great games can be delivered right to your browser. The beta test for ProjectStream is accepting new players on an ongoing basis and will run through January 2019. Follow this link to sign up.
The biggest game of 2018, "Red Dead Redemption 2," may be the most detailed game I've ever played.
It's certainly the most detailed game I've played since the last project from Rockstar Games, "Grand Theft Auto 5."
The simple act of walking through mud in "Red Dead 2" becomes a sight to behold. Fighting in it — during a light rain, no less — can be downright distracting:
Each individual footstep shows up in the mud, quickly filled by nearby puddles and topped-up by the rain.
I spent more time than I'm willing to admit simply staring at the mud. How could it be so detailed? How could there possibly have been this much attention lavished on the ground?
Those stop and gawk moments were frequent while playing through "Red Dead Redemption 2" over the last week. It's a game that, even after dozens of hours, continues to surprise me.
Here's just some of the craziest, most impressive stuff I've seen:
1. Let's start with the bear head hat.
There are quite a few hats in "Red Dead Redemption 2," and even more outfit combinations. That's to be expected in any blockbuster, character-driven game in 2018. Who doesn't want to play dress up?
What's not so expected is this outrageous bear head hat, which is a bear's head— a bear you'll kill in a relatively early mission. This hat is almost certain to become yours.
After taking the bear skin to a trapper, he'll offer to buy your legendary bear skin. In an instant, he turns that skin into a handful of different clothing items. The one I purchased immediately, of course, was the bear head hat you see above. It looks exactly like the bear I shotgunned in a panic.
2. Your outfit, including the bear head hat, shows up in every cutscene.
No matter how serious the moment, whatever silly outfit you're wearing is the outfit your character will wear in cutscenes. This is no small thing — most games don't bother with this level of consistency.
And that's just the beginning.
3. If you're muddy from riding through mud, you'll appear dirty and people will react accordingly.
The main character, and the one you'll control throughout "Red Dead 2," is Arthur Morgan. If you get into a fight in the mud as Arthur, he'll get extremely muddy. When he walks into a bar, people will comment on his smell and demeanor. When he appears in a cutscene, he'll appear as a mud-covered maniac.
There's a level of detail consistency throughout the game that's subtle at first, and becomes almost overwhelming as the game goes on.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
When Nintendo announced "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" earlier this year, producer Masahiro Sakurai confirmed that every character from the prior four games in the franchise would be returning for the series' first entry on the Nintendo Switch. The game will be released on December 7th.
As a result, "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" has one of the largest rosters of any fighting game ever made, bringing back more than 60 returning characters, and adding 14 fresh new faces besides. That's 76 playable characters from across video game history, right out of the box, plus one more coming as a download in early 2019.
If that's not enough Nintendo recently confirmed that at least five more fighters will be added to "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" through February 2020.
Those who have played prior "Smash" games may recognize that certain characters have similar movesets — like Pit and his evil counterpart, Dark Pit. Nintendo has started calling the copy characters "echo fighters," but for the sake of this list, they'll be counted as individuals. Similarly, the Pokémon trainer controls three different playable Pokémon, and there are three Mii fighters with different fighting styles, so we'll count them all individually as well.
Here's every single one of the "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" characters, plus the game in which they debuted:
1. Mario - "Donkey Kong" (1981)
2. Donkey Kong - "Donkey Kong" (1981)
3. Link - "The Legend of Zelda" (1986)
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
42 years after Orson Welles was finally finished with his movie, “The Other Side of the Wind” (which took him 6 years to complete principal photography on), Netflix will release it on its streaming service Friday.
For movie lovers, it’s the ultimate “lost movie,” a work that the iconic director toiled over until his death on October 5, 1985, but never completed. For Welles fans, it’s a glimpse into the evolution of their maestro. He will always be known for making “Citizen Kane,” which many still regard as the greatest movie ever made, yet with this movie he proved he could make something as edgy and forward-thinking as the up-and-comers of the era like Dennis Hopper, Francis Ford Coppola, and William Friedkin.
But for those who have spent years (and in some cases decades) trying to get Welles’ final film to the public, this weekend marks the time they can finally take a giant exhale.
“I’m thrilled to be done,” producer Frank Marshall (behind the Indiana Jones and “Jurassic Park” franchises) told Business Insider with a laugh. He was also a production manager on “The Other Side of the Wind” when he was 25.
“It was a long and tortured road, at times,” producer Filip Jan Rymsza said looking back. He worked the last nine and a half years trying to settle the copyright issues surrounding the movie.
In many ways, the story of how “The Other Side of the Wind” finally made it to audiences is as epic as Welles’ ambitions for the movie itself.
6 years of 'the poor man's process'
In 1970, Welles was back in Los Angeles after living in self-exile in Europe for more than a decade. Sensing the independent film wave that was building in America following the success of Dennis Hopper’s “Easy Rider,” Welles was ready for a comeback, and the project that would bring the auteur back into the zeitgeist would be the strangely titled “The Other Side of the Wind.”
It’s a tale that feels as if Welles bottled everything that happened to him in the latter half of his life and spilled it into a script — though he always claimed the movie wasn't autobiographical.
You can be the judge.
The movie follows the final day in the life of famed director Jake Hannaford (played by a famed director, John Huston). Celebrating his 70th birthday, Hannaford is trying to get the finishing funds to complete his comeback movie after being in Europe for years. Told mostly using handheld, faux-documentary footage (some in color, some in black-and-white), the bulk of the movie takes place at his birthday party, where Hannaford has brought financiers, critics, filmmakers, and film students to come and see the footage of his movie (which is shot on pristine high-quality film).
Welles cast the party with real film students, real filmmakers (Dennis Hopper, Henry Jaglom, and Paul Mazurksy all appear chatting about the craft), as well as his good friend and fellow filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich in the role of Brooks Otterlake, a rising-star director who owes his career to Hannaford. This very much mirrored the real-life relationship Welles had with Bogdanovich. In fact, during the making of the movie, Bogdanovich went and made "The Last Picture Show," which would give him auteur status like his mentor.
As depicted in Josh Karp’s book, “Orson Welles’s Last Movie: The Making of the Other Side of the Wind,” the six-year process to make “The Other Side of the Wind” was filled with many starts and stops as Welles constantly was looking for enough money to continue shooting. The script was changed almost daily by Welles, location shoots were often done without proper permits (a lot of it was shot at Bogdanovich’s home during the years Welles lived there), and scenes were pulled off in low-budget ways.
Take, for instance, one of the movie’s most memorable scenes: the sex scene inside a car featuring Welles’ collaborator and mistress Oja Kodar as the rain is pouring outside.
“It was the poor man’s process,” Marshall said of the scene, which he was on set for the shooting of. “We were just shaking the car to make it look like it was moving, would walk by with lights so it looked like cars were passing by, and had a garden hose for the rain.”
With Welles pinching pennies to get the movie finished, it was impossible to fathom how he’d find the money for post production.
Let's make a deal
For years, Welles was very much like Hannaford, searching for deep pockets to finish his movie. Even when Welles was honored with the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award in 1975, a portion of his acceptance speech was him pitching “The Other Side of the Wind.”
Sadly, by the time of his death, Welles only had a 40-minute cut of the movie to show for the six years of effort he put into making it. Left behind, along with the cut, were hours of footage, notes on how to shape it all into a feature film, and mass confusion about who really owned it all.
When Welles died in 1985, he left many of his assets to his estranged wife, Paola Mori, and following her death a year later, they were inherited by their daughter, Beatrice Welles. But Welles also left assets, like “The Other Side of the Wind” and other unfinished projects, to Kodar. Then there was a third party who claimed ownership, Mehdi Bushehri, the brother-in-law of the Shah of Iran.
In Welles’ search for self financing on “The Other Side of the Wind,” which gave him the artistic control he craved, the director found a French-based Iranian group headed by Bushehri. Through years of tension between Welles and Bushehri’s company during production, things only got worse when funding became non-existent after the Shah was overthrown in 1979. However, Bushehri continued to have an ownership stake in the movie.
This was the mess Marshall found himself in starting in the 1990s, when he tried to help Bogdanovich and others finish what Welles started. Though there was the 40-minute Welles cut they could show potential investors, most of the movie was locked away in a Paris vault.
“I kept meeting with financiers — people from Canada, people from Europe, people from Malibu,” Marshall said. “They all had an idea of how to do this and the more we talked about it the more riskier it got for them. And then they would not come back.”
Then, when it seemed someone could pull it off and get the money needed, the three parties that needed to agree — Beatrice Welles, Oja Kodar, and Mehdi Bushehri — couldn’t.
“Everyone wanted the film to be completed,” Rymsza said, “they just wanted it done on their own terms. It was a minefield. And if you made an enemy with this group you made an enemy for life, so that was the tricky part.”
And as more and more potential financiers went to the wayside, the legend of “The Other Side of the Wind” only grew.
While writing the book, Karp was told stories of footage from the movie having been seen all over the world. The movie’s cinematographer, Gary Graver, kept footage of the movie in his refrigerator. Karp even remembers one of the directors who made a cameo in the movie, Paul Mazurksy, telling him that one day at a farmers’ market someone walked up to him and whispered, “Hey, you ever seen ‘The Other Side of the Wind?'” and that he was given an address and a time to see it.
“The stories were just crazy,” Karp said. “There was also stories of this mythical three-hour cut of the movie that people told me they saw that Welles was very close to completing.”
However, Karp could never prove that such a print existed. It's just another story that elevated the myth of “The Other Side of the Wind.”
Thanks Netflix, now open the vault
What finally led to the vault in Paris being opened so the movie could be completed and released was Netflix.
One of the biggest challenges a potential investor had to take, outside of the cost for the rights all three parties would agree on, was the unknown price tag for competing the movie. Both Marshall and Rymsza said they drew up separate budgets for the cost to complete post production, but without seeing the footage and its condition, they had one hand tied behind their backs.
“I didn't know it would be 100 hours of material,” Rymsza said. “I had done a paper inventory and so I knew the amount of film elements but it’s difficult to foresee how much material there is and a lot of these factors would drive the cost of post.”
Rymsza would not divulge how much his original budget was, only saying it was a “significant price tag” and that they did go over budget to complete the movie.
Netflix announced in August it would give the funds needed to compete the movie (it also greenlit the documentary, “They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead,” in which director Morgan Neville looks back on the making of the movie).
Along with a score being made for the movie, and special effects done to complete the drive-in movie scenes, there wasn’t any sound for three weeks of shooting, so that was a major undertaking. Also, a team of negative cutters had to come in to reconstruct the original negative of the movie, which took months. However, Netflix never wavered in backing the project.
“Netflix supported us above and beyond,” Marshall said. “They were basically like, ‘We know you bought an old house and you’re going to have old house problems,’ which is exactly what happened. And we would go in and explain what we needed and they would say, ‘Okay.’”
So what is the movie really about?
“The Other Side of the Wind” is a fascinating look at a legend trying to get back on top. But is it autobiographical? It’s hard to not come to that conclusion after watching the movie, which seems to also explore Welles' complicated relationship with Bogdanovich.
The most compelling moments of the movie are when Hannaford and Otterlake are having conversations about their work and their friendship. And on set, it was more than obvious to those who were there that Welles was putting his relationship with Bogdanovich on screen.
Take, for example, at the end of the movie in the drive-in, when Otterlake is speaking to Hannaford and at one point says to his mentor, “What did I do wrong, Daddy?”
“Huston wasn't there that day for that scene,” Marshall recalled. “Peter was playing it to Orson. Orson was also directing him and his direction to Peter for that scene was, ‘It's us.’”
Bogdanovich didn’t just drop everything to be in “The Other Side of the Wind” whenever he was called upon by Welles, or let him live in his home with his then-girlfriend Cybill Shepherd, he also invested money in the movie to keep it going. Welles was grateful, but had a weird way of showing it sometimes, like the time he went on “The Tonight Show” and made fun of Bogdanovich with guest host Burt Reynolds.
But despite all that, Bogdanovich has never faltered in trying to accomplish his mentor’s final request: finish “The Other Side of the Wind” if he died.
“Peter became a much more heroic figure to me in just how much he cared about Orson,” Karp, who is also a producer on the documentary, said about talking to Bogdanovich for the book. “Welles took a lot from Peter and Peter got a lot from Welles. Welles truly loved him but in a way that probably didn’t feel like he was being very appreciated at the time. But Peter is a true believer, and there’s a lot to be said about that.”
“The Other Side of the Wind” and “They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead” are both available Friday on Netflix.
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You haven't seen the last of Falcon and Winter Soldier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The two may have vanished at the end of "Avengers: Infinity War" from the Thanos snap, but lets be real: They're coming back. And when they do, they'll reportedly star in a limited series on Disney's upcoming streaming service that is expected to debut late next year.
According to Variety, "Empire" executive producer Malcolm Spellman will write the series featuring Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson/Falcon and Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier.
Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This isn't the first potential series spinning off of the MCU. Variety reported in September that Disney is developing big-budget Marvel shows starring Tom Hiddleston's Loki, Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch, and more.
Just as the Loki and Scarlet Witch shows could raise questions about the future of the MCU, so too does this potential Falcon/Winter Soldier series. In both the comics and MCU, the two are Steve Rogers/Captain America's best friends, so it's intriguing that they would get paired together considering what Captain America's fate could be in next year's "Avengers 4."
Actor Chris Evans recently said goodbye to the role in a heartfelt message on Twitter after the movie wrapped filming, signaling that he is retiring from the franchise.
"Officially wrapped on Avengers 4," he said. "It was an emotional day to say the least. Playing this role over the last 8 years has been an honor. To everyone in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the audience, thank you for the memories! Eternally grateful."
It fueled further speculation that Captain America will meet his end in "Avengers 4." The character briefly dies in the comics after the "Civil War" comic event, and Barnes takes his place as Captain America. More recently, Wilson took on the role as Captain America in the comics.
A series starring both of them could be a somber one if Captain America does actually die in "Avengers 4," as the two would be reeling from his death and grappling with their roles as superheroes going forward.
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Investors are betting big on companies that promise to fundamentally shake up TV advertising, and another startup just snagged a sizable round.
The TV-geared analytics and measurement company Edo has secured $12 million in series A funding, led by Breyer Capital. A handful of advertising players including Brian Sheth and Robert Smith (Vista Equity cofounders) and WGI Group (founded by Jonah Goodhart, Noah Goodhart, and Michael Walrath) also participated in the round.
The actor and filmmaker Edward Norton and Daniel Nadler founded Edo in 2015 to match up granular TV ratings with purchase-intent data through machine learning.
"We had seen that the legacy media companies were getting disrupted by Netflix and Amazon who were using organic data capabilities as significant advantages," Norton said. "At the same time networks were facing the assertion by Google and Facebook that digital advertising was more effective, and none of the legacy measurement players were really helping them challenge that with sophisticated data."
Edo's goal is to amass a huge library of data pulled from TV networks to help determine how likely someone is to buy a product after watching an ad, based on data about how similar ads have performed in the past.
The company claims to have a database with access to 47 million TV airings across 80 categories of advertising and 2,100 brands. Edo's clients include ESPN, Turner, NBCUniversal, Paramount, and Lionsgate.
"Our ultimate goal is to be an alternative currency to the way that TV advertising is bought and sold," Edo CEO Kevin Krim said. "We can run very advanced data-science models to develop expected norms of responses," Krim said. In other words, Edo can construct a baseline estimate to compare an ad's performance with.
According to Krim, after marketers run a few dozen airings of an ad, Edo can analyze how that piece of creative compares against its database and can determine whether it is overperforming or underperforming.
Movie marketers run lots of ads without a lot of data behind them
Film studios are an example of an entity that could benefit from measurement like Edo's. Movie marketers spend millions of dollars blasting commercials across multiple networks leading up to a film premiere.
According to Krim, a movie marketer can run 4,000 to 6,000 TV ads weeks before a film premieres with dozens of creatives. Edo scores each of those ads to determine which creative and networks are most likely to increase the chance that a person will buy a movie ticket.
"They're a real crucible of invention because they have to deliver millions of consumers [to a movie theater] on a single weekend or their product will be an economic failure," Krim said.
Or take the example of an automaker launching a campaign for an SUV for the first time. Edo can dig through data to understand what types of creative and placements have worked well in the past for other automakers.
The TV measurement industry is rapidly changing
Edo is one of a handful of tech companies eyeing the $70 billion TV industry. As more ad budgets get funneled to digital, marketers are increasingly looking to plug data and technology into their ad buys to serve targeted TV ads and then measure how effective they are in getting people to take an actions like buying something or visiting a website.
Firms like VideoAmp, iSpot, and Simulmedia are also all working to innovate in TV advertising. VideoAmp, for example, uses software to help brands determine how they should divvy up ad budgets between TV and digital. And Simulmedia rolled out a marketplace this week aimed at helping small, digital-first brands buy TV placements through automated software.
For Edo, the company wants to work with both buyers and sellers.
"We've done a ton of research that allows us to give very high-fidelity views into how every creative that a TV marketer has on-air is effective at driving consumers to be more likely to buy the products that are being advertised," Krim said.
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Pinterest is bringing in a retail exec to handle its top marketing role as the company looks to beef up its advertising business ahead of a potential IPO.
The company has tapped Andréa Mallard, Gap's Athleta CMO, to be its first CMO. She will oversee Pinterest's marketing and creative teams and report to chief operating officer Francoise Brougher.
Mallard has held the CMO role at Athleta since March 2017, and was previously CMO at digital health startup Omada Health for four years. According to Pinterest, she will be responsible for explaining the company's platform to advertisers and partners.
Click here to read more about Pinterest’s new CMO.
In other news:
Elizabeth Olsen's 'Sorry for Your Loss' deserves better than becoming a high-profile Facebook flop. It got 4 million views for its first episode, but viewership plunged after that.
Amazon just ratcheted up the war for holiday shoppers with an unprecedented promotion.Amazon is offering free shipping for all customers for a limited time this holiday, starting November 5.
It's become increasingly clear that Alphabet, Google's parent company, needs new leadership. The recent scandals and controversies at the company, most notably over its handling of sexual harassment allegations, have highlighted the shortcomings of its top leaders.
Trump says his administration is 'looking at' whether Amazon, Facebook and Google are violating antitrust laws.In an interview with news site Axios that aired on HBO Sunday night, Trump said the $5 billion fine against Google from the European Union made him consider pursuing regulation.
Twitter has hired ad-agency executive God-is Rivera as global director of culture and community, reports the Wall Street Journal.The former VMLY&R exec will help advertisers connect with diverse communities on the platform.
AT&T owns HBO after acquiring Time Warner, but that didn't stop John Oliver from calling out his new parent company on Sunday's episode of "Last Week Tonight."
Oliver criticized AT&T for backing Iowa Representative Steve King until recently, when it denounced King.
AT&T tweeted on Friday that it had reviewed the "controversy" surrounding King, and determined that its employee PAC would no longer be making contributions to him because it "would not be consistent with one of our core values ... 'Stand for Equality.'"
In addition to our prior statement, we want to let you know that the AT&T employees who manage the disbursements of our employee PAC have now had the opportunity to review the controversy regarding Rep. Steve King, and have determined that the PAC will not make future...— AT&T Public Policy (@ATTPublicPolicy) November 2, 2018
...contributions to him. The committee concluded that further support of Rep. King would not be consistent with one of our core values …”Stand for Equality.”— AT&T Public Policy (@ATTPublicPolicy) November 2, 2018
But Oliver still took the opportunity to blast AT&T for sticking with King as long as it did, noting that "the news really shouldn’t be these companies bailed on him, so much as they were okay with him for a shockingly long time."
King has a history of contact with white nationalism, which has prompted backlash ahead of the midterms. When asked about it at an Iowa town hall last week, King exploded.
"People who aren’t a white supremacist say ‘No,’" Oliver said. "Even people who are white supremacists know to say ‘No.’ So it takes a special mix of racism and stupid to f--- that one up."
AT&T acquired HBO's parent company Time Warner for $85 million in May. Since then, it has expressed plans to make HBO more competitive in the streaming arena, including developing more content and launching a new streaming service next year that would be bundled with HBO.
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Kanye West's favorite restaurant is McDonald's, according to the rapper. But, West's obsession with fast food goes far beyond a single burger chain.
On Sunday, West tweeted: "McDonald's is my favorite restaurant".
The declaration should come as no surprise for people familiar with West. In 2016, the rapper tweeted: "McDonalds is my favorite brand." It stands to reason that the chain is also West's favorite restaurant.
West also penned a poem in 2016 called "The McDonald's Man" in a magazine written to accompany Frank Ocean's sophomore album,"Blonde."
Here are a couple of lines:
Them french fries look good tho
I knew the Diet Coke was jealous of the fries
I knew the McNuggets was jealous of the fries
Even the McRib was jealous of the fries
I could see it through his artificial meat eyes"
While McDonald's may be West's favorite restaurant, it is not the only chain the rapper appreciates. In fact, when it comes to financial investments, West has bet on McDonald's burger rivals.
In 2008, West bought the rights to open 10 Fatburger locations in Chicago. When he married Kim Kardashian in 2014, he reportedly bought her the rights to open 10 Burger King franchises located throughout Europe — though no locations were ultimately opened in the Kardashian-West name.
Beyond franchise purchases, West has name-dropped a number of restaurant chains besides McDonald's.
In 2016, rapper Schoolboy Q released a new song called 'THat Part,' which featured Kanye West, who dropped in a line about Chipotle:
"Beggars can't be chooser, b----, this ain't Chipotle," raps West.
The line provided some of the best social media marketing that Chipotle had experienced in the aftermath of the E. coli scandal, and it didn't cost the burrito chain a penny. West has been a dedicated Chipotle customer since at least 2007, when he introduced fellow hip-hop artist Big Sean to the chain.
West has also name-dropped Ruby Tuesdays, Fridays, and a Burger King slogan— all in a single line.
"Says she want diamonds, I took her to Ruby Tuesdays, If we up in Fridays, I still have it my way," he rapped in his 2005 track "Gone," notes Genius.
Appreciation for fast food also runs in West's family.
West's father, Ray West, founded the Good Water Store and Cafe in Lexington Park, Maryland, in 2006. Meanwhile, the Kardashians have serious sway in the world of fast food. In 2016, McDonald's sent Kim gift cards and a Givenchy wallet after the star wrote a blog post about her favorite fast-food menu items.
Before Sony's latest foray into the world of Spider-Man, "Venom," hit theaters a month ago, there was worry the studio might have a flop on its hands.
Critics couldn't publish their takes on the movie until October 2, just two days before "Venom" would be screened to audiences during early Thursday night showings. Such a short span of time between a film's review embargo and its release is usually a sign of trouble, and it was: critics tore into the movie, which ultimately scored a 27% among critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
Sony couldn't afford another misfire after "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" failed to generate excitement in 2014. If "Venom" bombed, it probably wouldn't have spelled defeat for its "Spider-Man" universe going forward (it's still Sony's biggest cinematic property).
"If it had failed, there is a chance Sony would have definitely returned to the bargaining table with Disney," Jeff Bock, Exhibitor Relations senior box-office analyst, told Business Insider. "Now, that's up in the air."
Fortunately for Sony, "Venom" is a hit.
The Tom Hardy-starring movie has scored over $500 million worldwide with a $100 million production budget. It has an 87% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes from 32,000 ratings, and a B+ Cinemascore. It broke the box-office record for an October opening weekend with $80 million after estimates put it in the $65-75 million range.
The success of "Venom" means Sony's "Spider-Man" cinematic universe, which once looked like it was on life support, is here to stay.
Sony strikes a deal with Marvel Studios
In 2015, Sony struck a deal with Marvel Studios in which Spider-Man could be introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while Sony still maintained distribution rights and creative control. That means Sony could still make movies based on the 900 Marvel Spider-Man characters it owns film rights to, while Marvel and its parent company Disney could use the character in its own film universe.
The deal came after Sony's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," the sequel to its 2012 reboot, floundered at the box office. It raked in just over $200 million in the US, barely more than its production budget, after opening to a disappointing $91 million. Most of its money came from international box office, which isn't new for a blockbuster, but it wasn't enough to fulfill Sony's grander Spider-Man vision to compete with Marvel after "The Avengers" made $1.5 billion worldwide two years prior.
"Everyone had high hopes for this," a production assistant on "Amazing Spider-Man 2," who wished to remain anonymous to protect future business relationships, told Business Insider. "They were projecting for it to at least make more money than the first one."
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" made less domestically and globally than its predecessor. Then the Sony hack happened in November 2014, in which WikiLeaks released a massive amount of private Sony emails, data, and files. Internal communications about "reinvigorating" the "Spider-Man" franchise and potentially having Marvel Studios produce were revealed.
It all forced Sony to reevaluate its planned Spider-verse, which would have included a "Sinister Six" villain-centric spin-off that "Amazing Spider-Man 2" attempted to set up. Instead, Sony worked with Marvel Studios to deliver the MCU's "Spider-Man: Homecoming" starring Tom Holland last year, which was a hit.
"Sony just wants to make a buck, and they don't mind throwing s--- at the wall to make a buck," the former production assistant said.
'Venom' helps Sony rebound
If you asked critics, "Venom" was another case of "throwing s--- at the wall." But audiences have thought differently, and box-office experts agree that the movie's success is no accident.
Sony "took a calculated risk with Venom, and it's now going to be a series," Bock said. "It seems Disney needs Sony's Spider-man more than Sony needs Disney ... If they consistently make films audiences want to see, Disney will have to buy Sony to get Spider-Man back."
"A half-billion dollars in revenue for 'Venom' worldwide proves that this is no fluke and despite a critical drubbing, the film has found great favor with audiences who are fully vested in the 'Spider-Man' brand as well as their embracing of Tom Hardy," comScore senior analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Business Insider.
What's next for Sony's Spider-Man plans?
The animated "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" hits theaters this December. The "Homecoming" follow-up with Marvel Studios, "Spider-Man: Far From Home," comes to theaters in July 2019. Apart from the MCU, Sony is developing multiple spin-offs like "Venom," including one starring Jared Leto as the vampire Morbius, and one featuring frequent Spider-Man love interest, Black Cat. There's even the possibility that Spider-Man himself could show up, and whether it would be Tom Holland's MCU version or someone else remains to be seen.
Oh, and a "Venom" sequel is highly likely.
"There is strong interest in a sequel which will no doubt happen given its success," BoxOfficeAnalyst.com's Doug Stone said.
Of course, there is the possibility that Sony doesn't ride this momentum, and its "Amazing Spider-Man 2" problems happen all over again.
Ken Miyamoto, a former Sony story analyst and script reader in the 2000s who is now an industry blogger for Screencraft, told Business Insider that Sony will "clearly fast track these titles in hopes of replicating the box office success of 'Venom.' And I just don't see it working with those characters. Nobody cares."
"If you push things too fast to try and emulate the MCU to create connected multi-franchises, you're going to suffer the same fate you did before," he added.
But for now, the success of "Venom," and the likely success of "Into the Spider-Verse" next month, have positioned Sony well and changed its balance of power with Disney. Beyond Spider-Man, Sony is developing a film it hopes to turn into another comic-book based cinematic universe: "Bloodshot," starring Vin Diesel and produced by "Fast and Furious" franchise producer Neal Moritz.
"This is just the beginning of Sony’s reemergence as a studio of box office distinction," Bock said. "They’re not giving it up without a fight."
If you have insight into the success of "Venom" and Sony's Spider-Man plans, email the author at email@example.com.
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NBC is pulling an ad it aired over the weekend from its networks following a backlash.
The 30-second ad, approved by President Donald Trump, aired during the "Sunday Night Football" game between the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers.
"After further review we recognize the insensitive nature of the ad and have decided to cease airing it across our properties as soon as possible," an NBC spokesman told Business Insider.
Fox News has also pulled the ad. "Upon further review, Fox News pulled the ad yesterday and it will not appear on either Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network," Marianne Gambelli, the president of Fox's ad sales, said in a statement to Business Insider.
CNN previously deemed the ad too racist to air, issuing a statement on Twitter on Saturday: "CNN has made it abundantly clear in its editorial coverage that this ad is racist. When presented with an opportunity to be paid to take a version of this ad, we declined. Those are the facts."
The primetime ad attempted to draw a connection between Luis Bracamontes, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who was convicted of killing two Sacramento deputies in 2014, and the so-called migrant caravan now traveling up through Mexico toward the US border. There is no known connection.
Besides "Sunday Night Football," the ad also aired on MSNBC, Fox News, and Fox Business, according to the analyst Rich Greenfield, who cited figures from iSpot.tv. MSNBC aired the ad three times, Fox News ran it six times, and Fox Business ran it eight times, according to Greenfield.
NBC quickly drew the ire of some in Hollywood who noted the difference in NBC's and CNN's treatment of the ad.
"So @nbc and @Comcast aired that racist Trump caravan commercial during the football game," the director Judd Apatow tweeted on Sunday night. "Who made that decision? How did they decide it was ok? I am disgusted that you would air that after @cnn refused to air it because it is explicitly racist. Shame on you. @NBCNews."
So @nbc and @Comcast aired that racist Trump caravan commercial during the football game. Who made that decision? How did they decide it was ok? I am disgusted that you would air that after @cnn refused to air it because it is explicitly racist. Shame on you. @NBCNews— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) November 5, 2018
The actress Debra Messing, who is starring in NBC's revival of "Will and Grace," also condemned the ad in a tweet, saying to fans of the show: "I want you to know that I am ashamed that my network aired this disgusting racist ad. It is the antithesis of everything I personally believe in, and what, I believe, our show is all about."
A 53-second version of the ad was released on Trump's Twitter account last week accompanied with the words "It is outrageous what the Democrats are doing to our Country. Vote Republican now!"
Trump has frequently used the migrant caravan, a group of several thousand Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries, as a talking point to stoke fears about immigration in the US. The caravan is hundreds of miles from the border.
The Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody," starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, rocked the box office over the weekend with a $50 million debut.
It beat expectations, which placed it in the $35-40 million range, and grossed another $72.5 million internationally. But it's not the biggest music biopic opening of all time.
Films that portray the lives of music legends are a dime a dozen, but only a few have become box-office success stories, including "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the NWA biopic, "Straight Outta Compton."
Below are the six music biopics with the biggest opening weekends ever:
6. "Notorious" (2009)
Adjusted opening weekend: $25,113,700
Original opening weekend: $20,497,596
Adjusted domestic gross: $45,140,900
Rotten Tomatoes score: 51%
Description:"'Notorious' is the story of Christopher Wallace who, through raw talent and sheer determination, transforms himself from a Brooklyn street hustler to become the greatest rapper of all time, The Notorious B.I.G. This story charts his meteoric rise to fame and his refusal to succumb to expectation. Produced by Voletta Wallace (BIG's mother), Wayne Barrowman and Mark Pitts (BIG's managers), Notorious challenges us all to redefine our notion of what is 'The American Dream.'"
5. "All Eyez On Me" (2017)
Adjusted opening weekend: $26,996,600
Original opening weekend: $26,435,354
Adjusted domestic gross: $45,885,300
Rotten Tomatoes score: 16%
Description: "Demetrius Shipp Jr. stars as the legendary Tupac Shakur in this powerful, true, and untold story of the rapper, actor, poet, and activist —from his early days in New York City to his evolution into a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his untimely death at the age of twenty-five. 'All Eyez on Me' also stars Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan, Hill Harper, Jamal Woolard, and Danai Gurira."
4. "Ray" (2004)
Adjusted opening weekend: $29,494,900
Original opening weekend: $20,039,730
Adjusted domestic gross: $110,683,100
Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%
Description: "Jamie Foxx stars as the one-of-a-kind innovator of soul, Ray Charles, who overcame impossible odds and humble beginnings to become an extraordinary music legend."
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