Articles on this Page
- 12/05/18--08:39: _Ousted CBS CEO Les ...
- 12/05/18--13:09: _Artists are slammin...
- 12/05/18--13:10: _'More than 10' new ...
- 12/05/18--13:41: _Netflix ruled Twitt...
- 12/05/18--14:04: _How Pokémon were tr...
- 12/05/18--15:02: _There are 42 exotic...
- 12/06/18--06:50: _The 33 best PlaySta...
- 12/06/18--07:22: _FX leads the Golden...
- 12/06/18--08:06: _MoviePass unveils d...
- 12/06/18--08:38: _Netflix's 'The Komi...
- 12/06/18--08:48: _Netflix's hit Briti...
- 12/06/18--08:57: _Everyone is using S...
- 12/06/18--09:32: _Early reviews of 'S...
- 12/06/18--10:42: _How the 'First Man'...
- 12/06/18--11:24: _Netflix's content b...
- 12/06/18--13:23: _The company behind ...
- 12/06/18--13:28: _This stylish, funny...
- 12/07/18--06:26: _YouTube's 'Rewind 2...
- 12/07/18--06:45: _Tap dancing, lies, ...
- 12/07/18--07:17: _'Avengers: Endgame'...
- According to a draft of a report from lawyers investigating sexual assault claims against former CBS CEO Les Moonves, which was reviewed by The New York Times, Moonves had a CBS employee "on call" to perform oral sex.
- According to The Times, the report said that a number of employees knew of this and "believed that the woman was protected from discipline or termination" because of it.
- The report also said that Moonves had received oral sex from at least four CBS employees, and concluded that the circumstances "sound transactional and improper."
- Rapper 2 Milly said he will sue the creators of "Fortnite" for allegedly copying his dance the "Milly Rock" and selling it in the game.
- While 2 Milly has been the most vocal about the similarities of a "Fortnite" dance to existing work, several artists have accused the game's creators of taking their dances without permission or pay.
- "Fortnite: Battle Royale" is the world's most popular game, making more than $200 million a month selling emotes and other cosmetic items for use in game.
- The video game industry's annual awards show, The Game Awards, takes place on Thursday night.
- More than just an awards show, The Game Awards is a big opportunity for game makers to announce new projects or tease upcoming ones.
- With just over 24 hours to go, a handful of announcements have begun trickling out early.
- Twitter revealed its five most tweeted about streaming TV shows of 2018, and four of them are Netflix series.
- Two of those, "Stranger Things" and "Black Mirror," didn't even debut new seasons this year.
- "13 Reasons Why" topped the list, and its second season sparked controversy this year.
- The only show not from Netflix was Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale."
- Pokémon fans are getting excited for the upcoming movie, "Detective Pikachu," and they can thank RJ Palmer for bringing the animated characters to life.
- Years ago, Palmer designed a series of realistic-looking Pokémon on DeviantArt, which were popular with fans of the series.
- The film's production designer discovered Palmer's work online and asked him if he wanted to work on the film. Watch the video above to see how he transformed the creatures you'll see on screen in 2019.
- Getting new exotic gear is the best part of "Destiny 2," Bungie's sci-fi first-person shooter for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
- Exotic weapons are the best in the game. They're also extremely rare.
- Each exotic weapon has its own unique set of perks, but since they’re so powerful, you can only equip one exotic weapon at a time.
- We've compiled the complete list of exotic weapons you can obtain in "Destiny 2," and ranked them based on utility for various "Destiny 2" activities.
- The PlayStation 4 is the world's most popular game console by a mile, with well over 82 million units sold.
- There are many contributing factors to the PS4's dominance, but the biggest and most important reason is the games.
- The PlayStation 4 can play most games available on other consoles, but it also has an incredible lineup of exclusive games that are literally not playable elsewhere.
- Here are the 30 PS4 games every owner should have in their collection.
- The Golden Globes nominations were announced on Thursday, and FX led the TV nominations.
- Amazon's "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" was the only series from the comedy or drama categories that was nominated last year and this year.
- The nominations were packed with newcomers, including Netflix's "Bodyguard" and Amazon's "Homecoming."
- Netflix fell behind both Amazon and HBO in nominations, while Hulu trailed dramatically.
- On Thursday, MoviePass announced a new three-tier pricing plan for its subscribers beginning January 1.
- The pricing ranges from $9.95 to $19.95 and varies depending where you live in the country.
- Business Insider reported in November that the company planned to release three-tier pricing.
- The "Select" package starts at $9.95 a month and allows subscribers to see three standard 2D movies per month at any point during their theatrical run except for opening weekend. MoviePass also said: "As product enhancements take place, more titles will become available, including on opening weekends, and this plan will ultimately result in a showtime-driven, inventory model." This seems to imply that certain showtimes will still be restricted, something that has frustrated MoviePass customers since the summer. (MoviePass did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.)
- Starting at $14.95 per month, you can get the "All Access" plan, in which subscribers will be able to see any three 2D movies at any time, including opening weekend.
- And for "Red Carpet," starting at $19.95 a month, you can see any three movies at any time, and one of those three can be seen in a higher format than 2D, such as IMAX or RealD 3D.
- Netflix's new series "The Kominsky Method" was nominated for three Golden Globes on Thursday, including best comedy series.
- The show has been a bit under the radar until now.
- Critics gave it a 78% score on Rotten Tomatoes, but it has a much-better 96% audience score.
- "Bodyguard," a hit British TV series Netflix is streaming outside of the UK, was nominated for two Golden Globes on Thursday.
- The show stars "Game of Thrones" actor Richard Madden and has a 98% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes.
- Netflix regularly works with international production companies to nab global distribution rights, and has acquired a number of other British shows, including "The End of the F---ing World."
- Every year, Spotify releases a tool that lets users see their personalized top charts for the past year.
- It's a fascinating look into personal listening habits, and it comes in a very attractive package.
- People are sharing their charts on social media to compare with friends.
- "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" arrives on the Nintendo Switch Friday, December 7.
- The game will feature more than 70 playable characters and 100 stages, making it the biggest "Smash" game ever.
- Early reviews are praising "Smash Bros. Ultimate" for its huge amount of customizable content and its mix of casual fun and surprisingly deep gameplay mechanics.
- "First Man" was nominated for a best score Golden Globe on Thursday.
- The movie's composer, Justin Hurwitz ("La La Land"), spoke to Business Insider about the challenges of making one of the best scores of the year.
- Those challenges included Hurwitz composing with electronic instruments for the first time, and the detail that went into the music played during the thrilling moon landing scene.
- Netflix's content chief, Ted Sarandos, addressed a Wall Street Journal report from October that called the company's work culture "ruthless" and "demoralizing."
- "That sounds like a really terrible place to work," Sarandos said.
- He said that people "love conflict" and love to "create conflict."
- "Fortnite" maker Epic Games is taking on the world's biggest players in digital gaming — from Apple and Google to Valve's Steam service — with a new storefront: the Epic Games Store.
- There are more than 200 million registered players in "Fortnite," which means there are more than 200 million Epic Games accounts. That puts Epic on top right from the jump.
- Epic is offering an attractive incentive to game makers and publishers: an 88% share of profits, which undercuts the industry standard 70-30 split by 18%.
- "Donut County" was just awarded the distinction of iPhone game of the year by Apple itself.
- The game, which costs $5, casts you as the pilot of a hole in the ground, with a mission to swallow up anything and everything.
- The game is silly, and fun to play, but it has something to say about the effects of the tech industry on gentrification.
- If you don't have an iPhone, it's also available for the PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac.
- YouTube on Thursday released its "Rewind 2018" video, which features more than 100 YouTube stars and celebrities.
- Appearances include Will Smith, Marques Brownlee, Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, John Oliver, and many more.
- YouTube filmed about 135 total people in four different cities around the world: Los Angeles, London, Seoul, and Rio de Janeiro.
- We spotted every single appearance in the video so you don't have to — take a look.
- "Divide and Conquer" is a new documentary about the life and career of ousted Fox News chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes.
- Director Alexis Bloom talked to Business Insider about trying to push away the myth of Ailes to show who the real man was (Ailes died within a year of resigning from heading Fox News in 2016 after sexual misconduct allegations).
- But the movie also highlights Ailes' ego-driven life that included a fortified office and the need to embellish everything.
- The trailer for the fourth "Avengers" movie dropped on Friday.
- Directors Joe and Anthony Russo spoke to Business Insider this week about the state of the film industry and the high expectations for "Avengers: Endgame."
- They also touched on their upcoming TV projects with Amazon and FX, the short-lived "popular Oscar," and what characters they'd still like to see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Former CBS CEO Les Moonves had a CBS employee "on call" to perform oral sex on him, according to a draft of a report from outside lawyers investigating sexual assault claims against him, which was reviewed by The New York Times.
According to The Times, the report also said that "a number of employees were aware of this and believed that the woman was protected from discipline or termination as a result of it.”
CBS declined to comment to Business Insider.
The unidentified employee was not interviewed by lawyers, according to The Times, but, in interviews with lawyers, Moonves "admitted to receiving oral sex from the woman, his subordinate."
Moonves described the acts as consensual, according to The Times, and "vehemently denies having any non-consensual sexual relations," Moonves' lawyer told The Times. "He never put or kept someone on the payroll for the purpose of sex. He has cooperated extensively and fully with investigators," Moonves' lawyer said.
The Times said the report also noted that Moonves "received oral sex from at least 4 CBS employees under circumstances that sound transactional and improper to the extent that there was no hint of any relationship, romance, or reciprocity."
Lawyers did not speak to any of the women, according to The Times, but the report concluded that "such a pattern arguably constitutes willful misfeasance and violation of the company’s sexual harassment policy."
The report said that Moonves' alleged sexual misconduct seemed to stop after his marriage to Julie Chen in 2004, according to The Times.
Brooklyn rapper 2 Milly plans to sue "Fortnite" creator Epic Games for allegedly copying and profiting off of a dance he created, the "Milly Rock."
2 Milly has been vocal about his distaste for the game's monetization of popular dances in interviews with Insider and CBS News. The "Milly Rock" dance originally arose in 2014 from the video for 2 Milly's song of the same name, "Milly Rock."
"Fortnite" added a dancing emote called "Swipe It" to the game in July 2018 that appears to be clearly inspired by the Milly Rock. For a time, players could unlock the dance through playing or by paying cash to level up the game's Season 5 Battle Pass, but Swipe It can no longer be acquired in-game. Players who unlocked it before can still use it though.
"Fortnite: Battle Royale" is the world's most popular game and has a massive audience that most artists can only dream of. While the game is free-to-play, the majority of its earnings come from the sale of emotes and other cosmetic items in-game. The game is currently generating more than $200 million a month in revenue and those emotes are available to more than 200 million registered players around the world, with no mention of the artists who inspired them.
2 Milly isn't the only artist claiming that the game turned their original dance into emotes for purchase in "Fortnite" without permission or pay. Rapper BlocBoy JB criticized the use of his "Shoot" dance in "Fortnite" and actor Donald Faison claimed that "Fortnite" lifted a dance he performed for the TV show "Scrubs" as the game's default dance.
On Twitter, Chance the Rapper also suggested that Epic Games should find a way to compensate the creators behind the dances.
Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes. Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) July 13, 2018
2 Milly's case isn't the only pending lawsuit Piece Bainbridge is bringing against Epic Games. The firm also claims that Epic used the likeness of former NFL player Len "Skip" Hamilton to create the character Cole Train for the Gears of War video game series. Pierce Bainbridge partner David L. Hecht claims that in both cases, Epic Games "misappropriated the likeness of African-American talent."
Experts have been skeptical of whether artists can claim ownership over a dance, compared to the clear copyright laws that protect music and song lyrics, but it seems that won't stop 2 Milly from pursuing his day in court.
On Thursday evening, the video game industry celebrates the year in games with its annual award show: The Game Awards.
Unlike the Oscars, this is no black-tie affair; The Game Awards are an annual opportunity to announce new games, offer updates on hotly-anticipated titles, and go into further detail on soon-to-be released games. Awards are given out, and people do indeed dress up, but it's part awards show, part marketing event.
And like so many similar events before it, several major announcements have already begun to leak or be officially teased.
Here's what we're seeing so far:
1. A new "Far Cry" game.
A new "Far Cry" game? Didn't one of those come out, like, in 2018?
Yep! That game was "Far Cry 5," and it came out back in late March on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The open-world first-person shooter was set in America for the first time ever, and featured a new antagonist: a maniacal cult leader with nuclear ambitions.
Apparently another "Far Cry" game isn't too far away — and it's a distant sequel, set in a post-apocalypse Montana. All we've got to go on thus far is the teaser trailer Ubisoft put out ahead of Thursday's announcement during the show.
The trailer alludes to a period of extreme weather following a nuclear detonation, eventually leading to a new world — a world where people shoot sawblades from crossbows, apparently.
Here's that teaser for the next "Far Cry" game:
2. A new "Dragon Age" game (that may be years away).
EA's BioWare division is responsible for major franchises like "Mass Effect," the upcoming "Anthem," and — most importantly in this case — "Dragon Age."
The role-playing series has been dormant for years at this point, but work on a new game in the franchise has been ongoing at BioWare. EA hasn't officially announced as much, and it sounds like The Game Awards is where that's going to happen.
"'Dragon Age' is an incredibly important franchise in our studio, and we’re excited to continue its legacy," BioWare lead Casey Hudson said on the BioWare blog in late November. "Look for more on this in the coming month."
As you might have already guessed, The Game Awards seems to be the planned location of the big reveal. And, according to a report in VentureBeat, the game may still be years away. "At least" three years away, according to "sources familiar with the studio."
That makes "Dragon Age 4" (or whatever it might be called) a likely candidate for being on the next iterations of the PlayStation and Xbox consoles— the "PlayStation 5" and whatever the successor the Xbox One is called.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Twitter revealed its most tweeted about streaming TV shows of the year, and there's no question that Netflix dominated the online conversation in 2018. Four of the top five shows are Netflix originals.
Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale," which debuted its second season this year, came in fifth.
Both "Stranger Things" and "Black Mirror" made the list, even though they haven't debuted new seasons in 2018. However, the fifth season of "Black Mirror" is reportedly coming this month before the year is over.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Netflix quickly deleted a tweet that said a "Black Mirror" episode called "Bandersnatch" would be released on December 28 (Netflix drops all of its episodes at once, so if this is the release date for one episode, it would be the release date of all).
As EW pointed out, "Bandersnatch" is the name of creature in Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass," but it's also the name of a game referenced in the season three "Black Mirror" episode, "Playtest." Bloomberg also reported in October that the fifth season would debut this month and include a "choose-your-own-adventure" episode.
The third season of "Stranger Things" is expected to debut in 2019.
The other Netflix series included on Twitter's list were "13 Reasons Why" and "Queer Eye."
The first two seasons of Netflix's reboot of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" received acclaim from critics and audiences this year. It has an overall critics score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and won the Emmy for Outstanding Structured Reality Program.
"13 Reasons Why" sparked more controversy in its second season season. Critics called the show "problematic;" a media watchdog group called for Netflix to pull the series; and experts said it romanticized suicide since one of the character's, Hannah, killed herself in the first season but was still a prominent character in the second in flashbacks. Netflix still renewed the series for a third season.
Below are the five most tweeted about streaming TV shows in 2018:
5. "The Handmaid's Tale" (Hulu)
4. "Queery Eye" (Netflix)
3. "Black Mirror" (Netflix)
2. "Stranger Things" (Netflix)
1. "13 Reasons Why" (Netflix)
Narrator: The Pokémon in "Detective Pikachu" have a new look, and they've never seemed more real or terrifying. That's in large part thanks to this guy.
RJ Palmer: I'm RJ Palmer, I'm a concept artist at Ubisoft, I draw creatures and monsters, and I worked on "Detective Pikachu."
Narrator: He started drawing when he was just three years old. He continued to hone his craft at the San Francisco Academy of Art. Then in 2012, his drawings for an amateur fan art project gained so much attention on the internet, it ultimately landed him a job on the new Pokémon film.
RJ: So I started drawing a shark dinosaur, and that turned into the Pokémon Garchomp, and people really, really responded to it, so I kept drawing more.
Narrator: RJ used real animals as inspiration.
RJ: The natural world is so inspiring, and I think pulling from that, as much as possible, is really cool.
Narrator: For example, Mewtwo was a combination of several creatures.
RJ: Kangaroo, and a little bit of rhino, and hairless cat, and some barn owl.
Narrator: For Charizard, he focused on different lizards.
RJ: So I looked at a lot of monitor lizards and brought qualities of crocodilians in there that I liked, as well.
Narrator: Surprisingly enough, RJ's main tools for designing his realistic Pokémon were simply a Wacom tablet and Photoshop.
RJ: And I've got a second monitor up, so I can have all my references.
Narrator: Ultimately, it was the amount of time and effort RJ poured into the project that made his Pokémon come to life. RJ researched every animal he used for inspiration, and in the end, each Pokémon he created took 30 or more hours to complete.
RJ: The one that took the longest to make is Tyrantrum. Tyrantrum is my favorite Pokémon.
Narrator: He posted them on the popular fan art community site, DeviantArt, and his work won over fans on the internet. It also got the attention of the production designer of "Detective Pikachu."
RJ: He gives me a call, and he's like, "Would you like to work on the Pokémon movie?" And I'm in shock, it was amazing. I've always been really into Pokémon as just a franchise, because I think it's really fun and creative.
Narrator: He moved to LA and worked on the film for seven months, doing concept art for characters and the environments. He helped come up with the initial designs for the Pokémon.
RJ: And then it gets given to all sorts of crazy effects houses.
Narrator: While his Pokémon on DeviantArt are more realistic, the ones he designed for the film had to be a bit more traditional.
RJ: So working on the movie, they had to get more in line with the cartoon aesthetic, I think. You do a design, and the people have opinions, and then you do another design, and they also still have opinions, and so it's a constant back and forth, trying to make one person happy, which is going to make somebody else unhappy, and you have to try and find a middle ground that's going to work for people.
Narrator: Pikachu, as the star of the film and franchise, took a while to nail down and get right.
Pikachu: Pika pika!
Woman: Yeah, pika pika pika, he's adorable!
RJ: Pikachu's one of the most well known cartoon characters ever, right?
Narrator: Despite speaking English and being a bit more furry than the cartoon, the Pikachu in the film is different from his realistic design.
RJ: I based him on rodents and lagomorphs. Lagomorphs are like rabbits, just like small, woodland critters.
Narrator: But it was Mr. Mime that really grabbed the internet's attention. Since his debut in the trailer, he's become a meme.
RJ: Mr. Mime was always going to be weird, right? 'Cause what do you make that thing? When I did my realistic version of it, I made it a frog, because it can be so many weird things. I think a detail that I didn't know they were going to go for, but the little shoulder pauldrons actually look like kickballs. I thought that was a pretty fun idea. And the Jigglypuff I like. In the Pokédex entry, they talk about it having a balloon-like skin texture, which would probably be pretty creepy in real life.
Narrator: So they made it more furry with a curly wisp of hair. In the end though, it's the fans who have the final say.
RJ: Everybody has their own idea of what Pokémon is, and I've certainly encountered that working on my own stuff. I've had some very divisive takes on certain Pokémon. So I knew that was going to be a problem going into the movie, and so far, at least, the response to the trailer, at least from the circles that I've seen, seem pretty positive.
Too early to rank since no one has it yet: Izanagi's Burden
Type: Sniper rifle
How to obtain: Unknown - Reward from Black Armory (part of "Destiny 2 Forsaken: Annual Pass")
Exotic perk:“Honed Edge - Holding reload consumes the magazine and loads a round with additional range and damage."
Too early to rank since no one has it yet: Le Monarque
Type: Combat bow
How to obtain: Unknown - Reward from Black Armory (part of "Destiny 2 Forsaken: Annual Pass")
Exotic perk:“Pestilence Arrows - On a perfect draw, a hit target receives damage over time. On a perfect draw with a precision hit, all enemies in the Void cloud receive damage over time."
Too early to rank since no one has it yet: Anarchy
Type: Grenade launcher
How to obtain: Unknown - Reward from Black Armory (part of "Destiny 2 Forsaken: Annual Pass")
Exotic perk:“Arc Traps - Grenades stick to surfaces and chain Arc bolts to other mines."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
1. "God Of War"
The new "God Of War," which launches on Friday, is the most sophisticated and most polished entry in the popular franchise. It has the best visuals, best story, best character development, and best combat of the whole series — and that's saying something. It's a must-buy if you own a PlayStation 4. It's also a PS4 exclusive.
2. "Marvel's Spider-Man"
"Marvel's Spider-Man" is the very best Spider-Man game ever built. Web swinging, fighting, and exploring the city is better than ever, but what's most surprising is how good the story is, especially in the base game. You really grow to appreciate and care about each character, and the voice acting is excellent. Oh, and the suits you can unlock are absolutely crazy. It's also a PS4 exclusive.
If you own a PlayStation 4, you owe it to yourself to play "Bloodborne." It's very similar to the "Dark Souls" series — it's made by the same developer — but it's faster paced and has cosmic horror theme very reminiscent of H.P. Lovecraft. The deeper you get in the game, the more you feel like you're overcoming your fears. It's also a PS4 exclusive.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
This year's Golden Globes nominations were announced on Thursday, and FX led the television pack with a total of 10 nominations.
That's mostly thanks to "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" and "The Americans," which landed four and three nominations, respectively. "American Crime Story" won the most nods of any of the series nominated. "The Americans" was nominated for best drama, best actress in a drama (Keri Russell), and best actor in a drama (Matthew Rhys, who won the Emmy this year for the show's final season).
"The Assassination of Gianni Versace" was nominated for best limited series, best actor in a limited series (Darren Criss), best supporting actress in a limited series (Penélope Cruz), and best supporting actor in a limited series (Edgar Ramírez).
Other FX shows to be acknowledged were "Pose" with two nominations (best drama and best actor in a drama, Billy Porter) and "Atlanta" with one (best actor in a comedy, Donald Glover).
In the streaming war, Amazon Prime Video and HBO tied for the second-most nominations with nine each. They beat Netflix, which gained eight nominations. Hulu trailed with just two nominations, as "The Handmaid's Tale," which won best drama last year, was shut out from that category.
Amazon's "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" is the only series, in either the best drama or best comedy categories, that was nominated last year and nominated again this year. The series won best comedy last year, and its second season debuted on Wednesday.
The nominations were packed with Globes newcomers, including Netflix's "Bodyguard," a British series that Netflix acquired streaming rights to, and Amazon's "Homecoming."
Broadcast networks weren't completely shut out. NBC's "The Good Place" received attention with its third season, and CBS' "Murphy Brown" was nominated for best actress in a comedy for Candice Bergen's performance.
Below is the number of nominations each network received:
FX Networks — 10
HBO — 9
Prime Video — 9
Netflix — 8
Showtime — 6
NBC — 3
BBC America — 2
Hulu — 2
TNT — 2
Bravo — 1
CBS — 1
National Geographic — 1
Starz — 1
The 76th Golden Globes will air Sunday, January 6 at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST on NBC.
On Thursday, MoviePass announced a new three-tier pricing plan for its subscribers beginning January 1, 2019.
According to a MoviePass press release, the movie-ticket subscription service will offer three new plans ranging in price and access. MoviePass hopes this tiering can attract everyone from the casual moviegoer to the power user and turn around negative subscriber growth trends.
Business Insider reported in November that the company was planning to shake up its pricing plan and had lost tens of thousands of subscribers had cancelled in October.
Here's a rundown of the new plans:
But there's a catch to this pricing: It could be more expensive depending on where you live in the country. For example, in "Zone 1" the "Select" plan is priced at $9.95, however, in "Zone 3," it's priced at $14.95 a month. And for "Red Carpet" in that "Zone 3," the price is $24.95. What regions of the country fall under which "zones" were not specified in the release, but higher zones will likely be areas of higher-cost movie tickets, like New York City.
Beginning December 6, MoviePass will offer a limited-time holiday deal for some of these plans. You can purchase a single All Access subscription for 12 months for $119.95, or two or more for 12 months for $99.95. You can also get a Red Carpet single subscription for $149.95 for 12 months, or two or more for $139.95 for 12 months.
News of the new plans came with a confirmation of a leadership shuffle at MoviePass.
Business Insider reported in November that Khalid Itum had been handling much of the day-to-day operations for some time at MoviePass, and that the company's CEO, Mitch Lowe, had not been on an all-hands calls for months.
On Thursday, MoviePass confirmed that Itum had been promoted to executive vice president at MoviePass and that Lowe had turned over day-to-day operations of the company to him.
Netflix's "The Kominsky Method," starring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin, hasn't had much buzz since its release, but it just got a big boost from the Golden Globes.
The new series, which debuted last month on the streaming giant, snagged three nominations on Thursday, including best comedy series, best actor in a comedy (Douglas), and best supporting actor (Arkin). The show is one of the the most under-the-radar ones nominated this year.
In the comedy category, it will go up against last year's winner, Amazon's "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"; HBO's "Barry"; NBC's "The Good Place"; and Showtime's "Kidding," starring Jim Carrey.
Netflix describes the series like this: "Acting coach Sandy Kominsky and best friend Norman Newlander keep each other laughing as they navigate the ups and downs of getting older."
Critics were lukewarm about the show when it premiered, giving it a 78% Rotten Tomatoes critic score. Those who did like it praised the acting of Douglas and Arkin, two giants in the industry.
"Seeing these two Oscar-winning actors play off each other is like an acting workshop in itself," Jana Monji wrote for RogerEbert.com.
Viewers who have seen it have been more enthusiastic than critics, and the show currently has a 96% audience score from over 100 user ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.
But at the Golden Globes, it will be hard to beat the defending champ "Maisel" and "Barry," which took home acting Emmys for Bill Hader and Henry Winkler earlier this year.
Netflix added to its impressive catalog of British TV series in October with "Bodyguard," a thriller starring "Game of Thrones" alum Richard Madden. It's paid off for the streaming giant, as the show was nominated for two Golden Globes on Thursday, including best drama series and best actor in a drama series (Madden).
The series debuted on Netflix on October 24 and has a 98% Rotten Tomatoes critic score. Netflix describes the series this way: "After helping thwart a terrorist attack, a war veteran is assigned to protect a politician who was a main proponent of the very conflict he fought in."
The show originally premiered on the UK's BBC network in late August and grabbed viewers with its twists and turns. It's the latest British series to be streamed outside of the UK by Netflix, which regularly works with international production companies to acquire global distribution rights, according to Deadline, which first reported the "Bodyguard" deal in September.
Other British shows that Netflix has acquired include cult hit "The Frankenstein Chronicles," which stars another former "Game of Thrones" actor, Sean Bean; "Collateral," starring Carey Mulligan; "Wanderlust," starring Toni Collette; and "The End of the F---ing World," which Netflix recently renewed for a second season.
It's a strategy that has worked in both Netflix and UK networks' favor, as Netflix is able to introduce the shows to a wider audience. Some series don't manage to grab audiences in the UK, but once streamed on Netflix, shows like BBC's "The Last Kingdom" found success. Its third season debuted November 19.
The 76th Golden Globes will air Sunday, January 6 at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on NBC.
2018 was an absolutely killer year for music, and there's no better way to look back on that year than Spotify's annual Wrapped tool.
More than a year-end music chart, the Spotify tool offers Spotify users a personalized rundown of their year in music. After entering your Spotify login information, the Spotify 2018 Wrapped website analyzes your account and walks you through your past year of listening step-by-step — starting with the first song you played in 2018.
It's a beautiful audio tour of the year for the tens of millions of Spotify users out there, and it comes with a gift at the end: A playlist of your most-listened to tracks. If you're anything like me, the playlist is sure to be full of your actual favorite tracks of 2018.
As you might expect, there's a shareable little placard of information at the conclusion of the tool's slideshow.
And people are doing exactly that — sharing that information — all over the place.
oh the pleasure was literally indescribable I assure you https://t.co/lwf3ceQBAQ— PROPAGANDHI (@propagandhi) December 6, 2018
I love these Spotify year-in-review things! Apparently I listened to 40,000+ minutes of music this year.— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) December 6, 2018
My top songs of 2018 playlist: https://t.co/wz3joToo5c
And you can get yours at: https://t.co/txinKbcIp5pic.twitter.com/UsWXwEeP8F
I'm seeing other people post their spotify wrapped and seeing the minutes listened and uhh...— Pokémon Master Coan (@Coan_Arcanius) December 6, 2018
I'm torn between "those are rookie numbers" and "oh god what am I doing" pic.twitter.com/wGPmB6Rh9B
for every 10 days in 2018 I spent a full 24 hour day listening to spotify pic.twitter.com/yjBEBUkXkJ— Sam (@sambipom) December 6, 2018
And that's just the standard chart that Spotify makes easily shareable.
More hilarious are all the reactions to what these personalized charts reveal about listening habits.
Baby Shark and the itsy bitsy spider are on my Spotify end of year top songs playlist and I want to die— Dad (@fivefifths) December 6, 2018
I’ve tried really hard to forget how much we had to listen to Kids Bop during camp this summer.— mason . (@mason_0313) December 6, 2018
Unfortunately, Spotify isn’t letting me. pic.twitter.com/vm2q67KP2u
Oh good it’s time for my yearly Spotify CALLOUT pic.twitter.com/2UDVs3WTM4— LightningEclipse (@LightningEclips) December 6, 2018
Are you ready to face the hard truth?
Reviews of "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" have started to trickle in on the eve of the game's release, and critics are raving about Smash's first appearance on the Nintendo Switch. "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" is easily the most anticipated Switch game of the year; a multiplayer fighting game that seems ideal for Nintendo's portable console.
"Ultimate" brings back every playable fighter from the previous Smash Bros. titles, boasting a roster of more than 70 characters in total with more than 100 stages to battle across. The game features a wide variety of single-player and multiplayer modes too, compiling a massive amount of content in the standard $60 package.
Critics have also celebrated the game's attention to detail, which pays respects to Nintendo's storied game franchises, while also prioritizing quality-of-life improvements for the dedicated Smash Bros. fanbase.
On Super Smash Bros. coming to the Switch
CNET: "The 2014 3DS version was a watered-down experience. This is the real deal. I've been playing SSBU during in-between moments in my day, and it's everything I've ever wanted. On Saturday, I found myself waiting at an art gallery for two hours, wishing I'd brought my Switch the whole time."
The Verge: "This isn’t 'Smash' squeezed onto a smaller device, it’s the full version of the game that you can take with you pretty much anywhere ... Carrying a Switch around in your bag now means there’s always a possible impromptu 'Smash' battle on the horizon."
The ability to customize your matches
Kotaku: "Players can design highly customizable presets for their preferred play mode, so the default mode after hitting 'Smash' is no longer always a timed mode. If you’re like me, and you prefer to play in a stock mode with no items, you won’t have to rejigger the game’s settings every damn game anymore."
NintendoLife: "You’re encouraged to play the game however you want to, and adjust even the most trivial features to your heart’s content."
Polygon: "The ability to name and save each custom rule set has allowed me to swap between multiplayer flavors with the toggle of a single menu setting."
Thoughts on World of Light, the game's single-player adventure mode
CNET: "The World of Light board is massive — after a week of playing, I'm still finding areas that I haven't been to yet."
Polygon: "The whole mode has much more complexity than I originally expected from a Nintendo title ... World of Light offered me a palate-cleansing grinding experience unlike anything in previous Smash games, where number crunching mattered as much as my fighting skill."
The Verge: "The battles are all quite different, but what they share in common is that they’re all fairly bite-sized challenges. Most only take a minute or two to complete. This makes it a natural fit for the Switch, where you can knock out a challenge (or a few) whenever you get a spare moment."
Nintendo Life: "The variety in these fights is staggering, and practically all of them are insanely good fun and a novel way to breathe additional life into battles."
Kotaku: "World of Light feels like a forced march through a Nintendo product catalog. It failed to elicit an iota of nostalgia in me. Mostly, I was frustrated."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Coming off two Oscar wins for 2016's "La La Land," composer Justin Hurwitz is back in the award season race with his latest collaboration with director Damien Chazelle, "First Man," as he received a best score Golden Globes nomination on Thursday.
The look at the life of Neil Armstrong (played by Ryan Gosling), leading up to his legendary trip to the moon on Apollo 11, received mixed reactions when it opened due its slow-burn feel. But the work of Hurwitz has been universally praised. His mixture of percussion and electronic sound is a far cry from the song-and-dance musical feel of "La La Land," but perfectly accompanies Chazelle's telling of Armstrong's intimate story.
To get the sound right, Hurwitz began work composing the score in preproduction and had to get out of his comfort zone by working with instruments he'd never used before.
"Damien asked me to figure out ways for the movie to sound very different from any of the other scores that we've done," Hurwitz told Business Insider on Thursday after the Golden Globes nominations were announced. "He wanted me to learn a lot of electronic. We had never done any kind of electronic music before."
Hurwitz said Chazelle suggested he get his hands on a Theremin, which in the past has given eerie sounds in movies like the 1951 sci-fi classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound." Hurwitz kept it in his office for months, playing with it constantly, and got so into it that the demos he made with it were used in the movie.
"I thought we would hire the best person who knows how to use it to play it for the movie, but I had laid down cues so many times that by the time we got to the end of the process, Damien just liked the tracks and kept them in," Hurwitz said.
But that wasn't the only first for Hurwitz. He also created his own samples for the score. He said he recorded metal sounds, burning fire, and water running and combined them all into a sample that he used throughout the movie.
"I had never done that before, designing musical sounds," he said. "That was a challenge and exciting to learn."
Music ideas evolved out of preproduction into the shooting. Hurwitz said there would be weekly friends and family screenings in which the music was scrutinized. Over days, weeks, and months the music would change often, sometimes even the instruments were swapped for others. Hurwitz said that it wasn't until post production that the harp was found to be the right choice as a main instrument to use throughout the score.
The Theremin is also featured in almost every music cue of the movie so it, as Hurwitz put it, "melts" into the score. But it's central during the moon landing scene in the movie, when Hurwitz's score is at its most thrilling.
For that part of the movie, Hurwitz said creating the music was very similar to how he did it on "Whiplash" and "La La Land" — working off of how Chazelle saw it.
The music for the moon landing scene was one of the first things Hurwitz and Chazelle came up with for the movie. After spending a few months figuring out the sound in preproduction, Chazelle took the lead in telling Hurwitz the musical beats.
"Damien sees the entire movie in his head before he makes it, down to every single shot," Hurwitz said." "So we created this landing cue based off of his own vision for the sequence. He would say, 'This part needs to grow for 40 seconds, then I want strings to enter and grow for 45 seconds.' He would talk about where exactly the camera would be in those moments. 'It's going to cut out of the craft and be a wide shot of the moon and that's where the melody has to explode, and we'll cut back inside the craft and the music will simmer down.' He was describing to me shot-for-shot what the sequence would be."
Hurwitz then went off and made a demo of the music for the sequence using string, brass, and woodwind instruments that Chazelle used to storyboard the scene. That music was also used to edit the sequence before a full orchestra was brought in to perform the finished piece that would go in the movie.
The challenges in making "First Man" were what stuck out most for Hurwitz, he said, and he hopes they will continue going forward.
"I love the opportunity to learn new things and I like the idea of every score bringing in a couple of new tools," he said. "It depends on the project, but I like the idea of having an exploratory phase at the beginning where I can study up on some new stuff. I just want to keep evolving each time I do a movie."
Netflix's content chief, Ted Sarandos, addressed a Wall Street Journal report that called the company's work culture "ruthless, demoralizing and transparent to the point of dysfunctional," at Variety's annual Dealmakers Breakfast on Thursday.
The story, published in October, was based on anecdotes from more than 70 former and current employees. It reported that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings routinely performs a "keeper test" that he used to fire his product chief and longtime friend, Neil Hunt, last year.
Some managers also told The Journal they felt pressured into firing people or "risk looking soft."
"That sounds like a really terrible place to work," Sarandos said Thursday.
Sarandos added, "I don't know where that came from. I think people love conflict, and people love to talk about conflict and create conflict."
He used an example of how he recently spoke at a conference in New York and praised the theatrical experience, but headlines focused on his criticism of long theatrical windows (how long a theater shows a film before it is available on home release or streaming).
Here's how Netflix officially responded to the report at the time in a statement to Business Insider:
"We believe strongly in maintaining a high performance culture and giving people the freedom to do their best work. Fewer controls and greater accountability enable our employees to thrive, making smarter, more creative decisions, which means even better entertainment for our members. While we believe parts of this piece do not reflect how most employees experience Netflix, we're constantly working to learn and improve."
In September 2017, Epic Games added a new "Battle Royale" mode to "Fortnite" — a low-key, third-person shooter that launched earlier that summer.
In the subsequent 15 months, "Fortnite" has become a household name.
Epic Games says that more than 200 million accounts have been registered in the free game across the many platforms it can be played on; more than 80 million people are playing monthly.
And if you're one of the millions of people playing the game on PC, Mac, or Android, you're already using your Epic Games account with the Epic Games launcher — software created by Epic Games to manage your account and game library. It's a service that's very similar to Apple's App Store, or Google Play, or Valve's Steam. The software keeps games updated, allows you to communicate with friends, and tracks your progress, purchases, and more.
In the near future, the Epic Games launcher is turning into the Epic Games Store.
"Soon we'll launch the Epic Games store," Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said in a blog post this week. "The store will launch with a hand-curated set of games on PC and Mac, then it will open up more broadly to other games and to Android and other open platforms throughout 2019."
Make no mistake: This is a direct shot at Apple, Google, and — most directly — video game industry heavyweight Steam.
Epic is offering a deal that game makers and publishers can't refuse
If you make video games, either as a developer or publisher or both, you need distribution services like Apple's App Store or Valve's Steam. Not only do these services offer exposure to massive audiences, but they offload the management of a lot of technical stuff.
And for that, the services take a cut: For every game sold on Steam, Valve gets a percentage of that sale price.
The industry average, whether you're on Valve's service or Apple's or Google's, is 30% — a significant cut of the profits. So it's no surprise that when "Fortnite" launched on Android this summer, it didn't go through Google's Play Store.
"The 30% store tax is a high cost in a world where game developers' 70% must cover all the cost of developing, operating, and supporting their games," Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney told Business Insider earlier this year.
And now, with the Epic Games Store, Sweeney is putting that argument into practice: Epic will take just 12%, well below the standard 30%. "Developers receive 88% of revenue," Sweeney said in the blog post this week. "There are no tiers or thresholds. Epic takes 12%."
The breakdown is pretty stark:
In addition to making the most popular game in the world, Epic Games produces the Unreal Engine — a set of tools that developers use to create games. Unreal Engine 4, the latest version, is widely used in the game industry. Everything from "Street Fighter V" to the upcoming "Yoshi" game uses Unreal Engine 4 — and yes, "Fortnite," too.
The Unreal Engine tools are free to use; Epic Games gets a 5% cut of profits from any games created with those tools. But if that same game is sold on the Epic Games Store, Epic will waive the engine fee. That means that for a developer using Unreal Engine 4, the difference between selling a game on Steam and selling a game on the Epic Games Store is a whopping 23% difference in profit.
Those are some pretty strong incentives to sell your game through Epic's storefront rather than those run by Valve or Google. In the case of the PC, that same logic applies to the digital storefront run by Microsoft, the Windows Store.
In the case of Apple's iOS devices, there is no choice but the App Store — Apple outright doesn't allow third-party storefronts on iOS devices. Still, Epic Games pushing back on the industry standard could put pressure on Apple to take a smaller slice from publishers on the App Store. And on the Mac, Apple's storefront is far from the only game in town — anyone playing "Fortnite" on a Mac already has the Epic Games launcher, which will now become the Epic Games Store.
A smart move
The Epic Games Store is a smart, logical move for Epic Games.
The company is already processing millions of digital sales through "Fortnite," and it's already scaled across every game platform. Epic is also in a financial position to take the risk: A recently announced $1.25 billion funding round, in addition to the hundreds of millions in monthly revenue generated by "Fortnite," are enabling Epic to make the risky push from game publisher to platform operator.
Whether game makers and players flock to the Epic Games Store remains to be seen, but Epic is in the rare position to actually give it a shot.
This week, Apple released its rankings of the best apps of the year, with indie hit "Donut County" taking the prize as the top iPhone game of 2018.
If you've never played "Donut County," which costs $5 on the App Store, I urge you to take a look: It's a stylish, funny game that casts you as the pilot of a remote-controlled hole in the ground that sucks in everything it touches, from snakes and lawn chairs all the way up to mountains and Ferris wheels.
The game isn't especially challenging — there are some light puzzle elements, sure, like sucking up live fireworks and using them to bust up obstacles into chunks that fit in your portable hole. But like previous award recipient "Monument Valley" before it, "Donut County" is more about the experience than it is about reflexes and skill.
And what an experience it is. The general idea is that BK, a raccoon, buys the town's beloved Donut County pastry shop and launches a donut-delivery app. When the unknowing townspeople order a donut, though, what they get delivered instead is your portable hole in the ground, which proceeds to swallow up the customer and everything they own. BK, oblivious to the damage he's caused, is just trying to do enough deliveries to earn a quadcopter drone.
It's a not-so-subtle commentary on what happens to a community when the tech industry moves in: The townspeople in the game thought they were just getting a donut, but accidentally invited disaster into their lives. It's a satire of companies like Uber of Airbnb, where a simple concept can lead to all kinds of headaches and ripple effects in other industries — just look at what happened to the New York City taxi business when Uber moved in, for an example.
Tellingly, at one point, BK confesses that he doesn't even know what a donut is, other than that they have a hole, and thought he was just giving the people what they want. The story itself is about the townspeople convincing him that he was wrong, and that maybe the people didn't actually want to be at the bottom of a giant hole.
It's all complemented by creator Ben Esposito's striking art style, which is appropriately cartoon-y, keeping the mood light as you swallow everything and everyone into the gaping abyss.
So, yeah, it's silly, and it's short, and it's not especially challenging, but if you have a few hours to kill, "Donut County" is well worth your time. And if you don't have an iPhone, it's also available for PC, Mac, and PlayStation 4, too.
1. Will Smith — actor and rapper
2. Marques Brownlee — tech reviewer
3. ItsFunneh — gaming videos
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Exploring the life and times of Roger Ailes, the ousted CEO of Fox News, is important because it shows how one man single-handedly shaped the way many of us view politics and news in today’s world. But how Ailes actually became a titan in media is split two ways: the truth, and how Ailes spun it.
In “Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes,” director Alexis Bloom (“Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds”) took on the task of pushing away the spin for an unfiltered telling of Ailes’ life — from his political days as the force behind the presidential elections of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush, to becoming the most powerful man in media.
Bloom only knew Ailes by reputation during the rise of Fox News in the 2000s.
“I was fascinated because he seemed to be this mixture of being thuggish and charming,” Bloom told Business Insider. “Sort of a genius and also depraved.”
And this was before former “Fox & Friends” co-host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes.
Bloom began getting financing for “Divide and Conquer” (opening in theaters on Friday) around the time the titan was about to freefall. The Carlson lawsuit was followed by other sexual misconduct allegations against Ailes, including by one of the network’s biggest names, Megyn Kelly. Ailes resigned in July of 2016 (in the movie numerous women give detailed accounts about Ailes' alleged sexual misconduct toward them).
By the time Bloom began filming the documentary, Ailes had died (within a year of leaving Fox News). Though the director was disappointed at the time she wouldn’t get a chance to interview him for the movie, she quickly realized that Ailes’ death led to more opportunities.
“There were people who told me, ‘We wouldn’t be having this conversation if Roger was alive,’” Bloom said.
“Divide and Conquer” explores many of the defining moments in Ailes’ life, starting with his challenging childhood, in which suffering from hemophilia made him live in constant fear that at any moment he could die. Ailes' father also never showed much affection for him, and a classic Ailes story involves his father playing trick on young Ailes by not catching him after telling him to jump off the top bunk (more on that later). After his childhood, the doc looks at Ailes becoming, as one reporter called him, the “Ernest Hemingway of campaign advisors,” as he created the political strategist profession. And then comes Ailes' first foray into 24 hour news, America’s Talking.
Launched in 1994 by NBC, the cable channel gave birth to many of the programming styles (and on-air personalities) that Ailes would perfect at Fox News. Ailes even hosted a celebrity-focused talk show called “Straight Forward,” which showed his showman side, a trait he had all the way back to his younger days when he would tap dance to stay in shape.
But the good times ended two years later when Bill Gates and Microsoft stepped in and made a deal with NBC to launch cable network MSNBC. Ailes and America’s Talking was shown the door.
“America’s Talking is crucial in understanding what happened afterwards,” Bloom said. “He absolutely hated the suits at NBC. He wanted to, in his words, ‘F--k’ them. It was a huge motivator for him.”
Filled with anger for NBC, Ailes went to Rupert Murdoch looking for payback by fulfilling a dream he had since the Nixon administration: making a dedicated conservative-focused news channel. And Fox News was born.
Bloom highlights what led to the growth of the channel, from the explosive personalities of its hosts like Bill O’Reilly and later Glenn Beck, to the constant theme of division and fear. These elements worked perfectly when covering major moments in American history like the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal and the down-to-the-wire election of George W. Bush against Al Gore, which led to huge ratings.
But even as one of the most powerful figures in media, the movie shows Ailes lived in fear.
According to the doc, Ailes’ office at Fox News was something out of a James Bond movie. It had a steel reinforced door, bulletproof glass windows looking out over Manhattan, monitors to security cameras he had stationed outside his office, and multiple hand guns stashed away. In fact, Bloom said Ailes always carried a gun everywhere he went as he was afraid Al-Qaeda, Osama bin-Laden, or the gay community were out to kill him.
“It has an almost ‘Dr. Strangelove’ aspect to it,” Bloom said of Ailes’ life. “If it wasn’t so mortally serious it would be funny, but it’s not because this is a real person not an actor.”
One of the most chilling aspects of Ailes’ personality that’s shown in the movie is how easily he could lie and embellish to lift his own mythology. The best example is that story about his father letting him fall from the top bunk when he was a kid.
In “Divide and Conquer,” Stephen Rosenfield, who worked with Ailes in the 1970s, told the story of how one day Ailes confided in him a memory of his childhood when while on the top bunk in his bedroom, his father walked in and told Roger to jump from the bunk, assuring Roger he would catch him. But when Roger jumped, his father moved and Roger fell to the ground. His father then told him that was a lesson to never trust anybody.
But later in the movie we learn that moment never happened. On a chance conversation with her cousin, Bloom found out that Roger’s seminal childhood moment was something that has been used in literature numerous times. Doing some digging, Bloom found a Gawker story that noted the father-son episode in hundreds of books, including the biographies of John D. Rockefeller and legendary actor Peter O’Toole. Then she spoke to Roger’s brother, Robert.
“He said there was absolutely no way that his father would ever have done that,” Bloom said Robert Ailes told her. “He shared a room with Roger and he would have known about it.”
But Bloom said this was what Ailes did most of his professional life: build myths about himself and America. It reminded her of some of the traits of another man full of himself that she did a documentary on.
She was the producer on the 2013 Alex Gibney documentary, “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks” (Gibney is an executive producer on “Divide and Conquer”), and had many conversations with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about being in the movie (he eventually declined).
“They both have weaponized information,” Bloom said when comparing the two. “They both know the power of information, they both are incredibly thin-skinned, and they are both egomaniacal. But there are significant differences. Assange thinks of himself as an anarchist, Roger first and foremost thought of himself as a patriot.”
Joe and Anthony Russo, the directing team responsible for Marvel blockbusters "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "Captain America: Civil War," and this year's "Avengers: Infinity War," never slow down.
The brothers were in New York City on Tuesday for Business Insider's Ignition conference to speak about their new production company, AGBO. Then they headed right back to Los Angeles to work on post-production for "Avengers: Endgame," which has been shrouded in secrecy until Friday, when the highly anticipated first trailer dropped and revealed the film's title.
"Avengers: Infinity War" is the highest-grossing movie worldwide this year with over $2 billion. "Avengers: Endgame," its follow up which comes to theaters in April, has been pegged as an end of this era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But those high standards don't phase the Russos, they said — they're just trying to make great movies.
The Russos spoke to Business Insider about the high expectations for "Avengers: Endgame," their upcoming TV projects with Amazon and FX, which characters they'd like to still see in the MCU, superhero movies at the Oscars, and the state of the film industry.
(This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.)
Travis Clark: Before I get into the inevitable Marvel questions, I wanted to ask about your TV projects you have lined up. You’re working on an Amazon "global event" series, and something for FX called “The Mastermind” with ["Fargo" and "Legion" creator] Noah Hawley. Is that still going on?
Joe Russo: We’re keeping a tight lip on what that Amazon series is about. It’s a new concept for storytelling. We’re always interested in the new ways to tell stories. We’re in a disruptive market. I think the next generation is much more adventurous than any preceding generation in how they perceive content.
Clark: So you’re pushing it to the limit?
Joe: We are. The concept with this show is international reach, and how to tell a global story. There will be a flagship show and some subsidiary shows that are set in foreign language markets.
Anthony Russo: It plays very much to the Marvel movies we’ve been making, which have such a global reach with passionate audiences around the world. We’ve been spending the last couple years interacting with those audiences. We grew up on global cinema and we love global cinema. I think the idea of communicating with a worldwide audience has always been appealing to us and now we’re doing it on a larger and larger scale.
Clark: And what about “The Mastermind”? Is that still with Hawley?
Joe: Yeah, we’re huge Noah fans. "Fargo" is one of my favorite shows. It’s another international show loosely based on a true story. We’re in the process of working on the script right now.
It’s loosely based on true events about a criminal in South Africa who built an international crime syndicate using the internet. Again, we’re being tight lipped about the actual plot, but it’s a fascinating show.
Clark: Will it be a limited series, or an ongoing?
Joe: It will be an ongoing thing. It’s built to be an ongoing thing.
Clark: What’s it like working with Hawley?
Joe: Once I saw half of season 1 of "Fargo," I called him. We had met Noah years ago while we were working on “Community.” We had a great meeting with him, we love him. We gravitate towards people that excite us creatively that we want to collaborate with. The essential nature of our relationship [Joe and Anthony’s] is collaboration, so we’re always trying to do that with other people.
Clark: Has he talked about his Doctor Doom movie at all?
Joe: [laughs] Yeah, we’ve talked about it in passing. Who knows what’s going to happen with everything with the Disney acquisition [of Fox].
Clark: Would you like to see that character in the MCU?
Joe: I’d love to see Noah’s interpretation of that character. Anything that Noah does.
Clark: It’s sort of up in the air at this point, though?
Joe: Yeah, I think so.
Clark: You mentioned disruption in the industry. The Disney-Fox merger plays into that, and streaming services like Amazon play into that. Can you elaborate? What’s it like working with Amazon? Where do you think these things will lead the industry?
Anthony: I think it fits a larger pattern for the road that Joe and I have been on as filmmakers. We’re self taught filmmakers. We bought a bunch of books after Robert Rodriguez said he made a movie for $7,000. We thought, "We can do that."
Clark: And then you made “Pieces."
Anthony: And then we made “Pieces,” and our entire road has been defined by that. “Arrested Development” was the first primetime scripted show to be shot on digital video. There were many specific reasons we wanted to do that, to find a new way to shoot a half-hour, single-camera comedy. We like the idea of unconventional and new models for how things are made and brought to audiences. That opens up possibilities for us as filmmakers to surprise ourselves.
Joe: This is the main driver of disruption [holds up phone]. We have a very powerful personal computer in our hands. Digital distribution is changing. Obviously the Disney acquisition of Fox is a response to this conglomerate of media companies. You have Apple that’s worth a trillion dollars, Amazon that’s worth a trillion dollars. Throwing your hat into the content arena means you have to scale up to compete.
And Netflix is also a driver of disruption. I think there’s a confluence of events that led to this. I don’t know how long for this Earth the two-hour narrative is. It’s become a predictive narrative. It’s predictive in the structure. It’s easy for a 10-year-old five minutes into a movie to know how that movie’s going to end now that we consume so much content. The most disruptive thing Netflix is doing is dropping 10 hours of content in one day. That’s a whole different structure for narrative. In 10 hours you can do a lot of different things for narrative that you can’t do in two hours. That’s probably as significant a driver as anything. The new generation that’s growing up on technology is going to create more complex, and ultimately immersive, narratives.
Clark: And people are watching those 10 hours in one sitting like they would a movie. There’s this stigma toward calling TV a movie or vice versa. But it seems like the lines are increasingly blurring. What do you guys think of that?
Anthony: Things will continue to evolve. If you go back long enough, you never saw actors cross between film and television. So the barriers between the two have been on a constant breakdown for the last 20 years and it will just continue in that direction.
Clark: This is where I get into Marvel and "Avengers" now. In terms of "Infinity War," it begins on a grim note and ends on a grim note. Was that always the plan and did you fear a backlash to that?
Anthony: We knew it was risky but we’ve tried to make risky choices with all of our Marvel films. Part of the virtue with the fact that the brand is so popular and is doing so well is that you can push the audience because you have the audience. It allows us as storytellers to push them a little harder than you could with a normal film that didn’t have that kind of framing. We basically want to bring audiences what we want to see in a theater. We want a story that will give us the whole range of human experiences: will make us laugh, make us cry, make us think, and excite us, thrill us, scare us, and ultimately surprise us. And also give us something that we can live with after we’ve seen the movie and chew on for a while.
Joe: The thing that’s nice about the Marvel universe is that it’s long-form storytelling. It’s not predictive. You can challenge the audience. It’s impossible to tell the stories we have been telling for the last few movies without the movies that predicated ours. The audience has that emotional investment so we can make radical choices in a market now driven by social-media conversations. A movie to a large extent has to drive that conversation or it’s not going to be a successful film. Making disruptive choices with the narrative is a way we’re driving that conversation.
Clark: Did you see Black Panther being as huge as he was in his own film when you introduced him in “Captain America: Civil War”? Do you think it would have been as huge as it is without that introduction?
Joe: Well, I think Ryan Coogler really brought an incredible amount of passion and emotion and care to the character and the narrative and people always respond to that. He’s largely responsible, not solely responsible. We were fortunate enough to introduce him [Black Panther], but he was one of 20 characters we were doing with that movie. Marvel also does a good job of maintaining quality around the content. But you can never predict. That was a film that was a commercial movie that was also a cultural moment.
Clark: What do you think of the "popular Oscar" idea and superhero movies breaking through at the Oscars in general?
Anthony: It feels like Oscars do need a change in perspective. It seems there is a bit of a disconnect between movies that audiences are responding to globally and what the typical Academy presentation is of those films. I think that’s largely based on the membership of the Academy and the fact that it’s this sort of older group of people. So, yeah, it doesn’t necessarily need to be the popular Oscar but something like the popular Oscar can certainly shake things up and help evolve the thinking and the approach the Academy has when celebrating film.
Joe: We have to be careful that we don’t lose touch with audiences. That’s the reason we make movies. And if it feels elitist in a way and disconnected, I think it can create a divide between audience perception of content, and the industry perception of content.
Anthony: Part of what’s special about Hollywood is that it brings movies to the world. The American film business has been the world’s primary film maker for decades and decades now. In order to continue to thrive in that capacity, you have to be tuned in to audiences worldwide. The vast majority of growth in audiences is overseas, and that will continue for the next couple decades. It’s something that we as filmmakers want to stay tuned in to. Ideas like the popular Oscar can help the Academy be aware of that, as well.
Joe: I think it [the popular Oscar] represents them trying to find an answer, which is what’s valuable. However they reach that is going to be important. I do think the disconnect has to be addressed.
Clark: Aside from popular Oscar awards, how do you think the industry can better connect with audiences, or tune in to what audiences want?
Joe: Diversity. Diversity in casting and storytelling. And I think you’re seeing that reflected. I think Marvel is making strides in that category. You just have to reflect the taste of the audience and the makeup of the audience. Everyone deserves a right to be represented.
Anthony: I’ll give you an example. One of the first movies that AGBO produced, a movie we’re very proud of, is a movie called “Mosul,” which was directed and written by Matthew Carnahan. It’s based on an amazing New Yorker article called “The Avengers of Mosul,” where a journalist embedded himself in an Iraqi SWAT team. To be a member of this SWAT team, you had to have a family member killed by ISIS, so it was a very driven and focused group of people. We financed that movie, we shot that movie entirely in Arabic, entirely in local language. We cast it with almost all Iraqi actors, and when we couldn’t use Iraqis, we cast other Middle-Eastern actors. When that movie finally comes to audiences, nobody will have ever seen a movie with that kind of production value in war-time Middle East in the local language where the locals aren’t the bad guys. It’s a revolutionary step in how Hollywood can make movies and something we’re very proud of and eager to get to audiences.
Joe: It’s an important narrative to tell, and it’s important to counteract the narrative of stereotypical representation. The more we can keep globalizing stories and getting different points of view — that’s what we want to do with the Amazon show.
Clark: When is this movie coming out?
Anthony: We’re in the process of finishing it and finding distribution for it. I’d imagine sometime in the next year, but we don’t know exactly how yet.
Clark: Is it intimidating to make a movie [“Avengers 4”] that is so big that people would probably go see it even if a trailer didn’t drop?
Anthony: When Joe and I got hired to direct “Winter Soldier,” that movie was many multiples larger than anything we’d ever done before as filmmakers. But the way we work as filmmakers is we have to satisfy ourselves first and foremost. If we’re making a movie that excites us, that’s the best we can do. We can’t predict if people are going to like it, we just know whether we like it. That’s how we’ve made every one of our Marvel movies and it’s how we’re making this one. For all of the anticipation and anxiety about it, nothing serves Joe and I better than staying focused on the story we’re trying to tell and telling it the best way we can.
Clark: Did you grow up as comic-book readers?
Joe: I did. My uncle handed me a box of comics when I was 10 years old, probably 100-200 comics in there. I think I read through them in a week. I liked Marvel characters because I found them flawed and interesting and human. I tended to gravitate toward them more than I did DC characters.
Clark: Was Stan Lee a big part of that?
Joe: I think Stan Lee was a huge part of that, without question. There are lot of great voices at Marvel, and Stan’s was critical to the success of the company.
Clark: Which comic book or superhero do you think is the hardest to bring to the screen?
Anthony: The more powerful a character is, the more difficult to deal with that character on a narrative level. As storytellers, and the way we explore characters, we always look for vulnerabilities in characters because that’s where characters become interesting. They’re superficially interesting in their strength, but they get much more depth when you find where they don’t have that kind of strength. In general, the more powerful a character is, the more tricky that is.
Clark: Like Superman.
Anthony: Yeah, exactly.
Joe: He’s a very difficult character. You have to find an emotional flaw or weakness in the character in order to make them vulnerable.
Anthony: That’s why Vision fell in love.
Clark: Is there a character you’d like to see in the MCU?
Anthony: Nobody’s done the Great Lakes Avengers yet. They’re still out there. [laughs]
Clark: Disney is developing Marvel shows for its upcoming streaming service [called Disney+]. Have you been approached about that and would you return to that universe if asked to take on one of these TV shows?
Joe: We love Marvel, we’ve had an incredible experience with them. It’s why we’ve made four movies in six years with them. They’re like family to us. I think they do a great job of separating “church and state,” where we’re focused on the projects we’re focused on, and someone else will focus on those other projects. We’d work with them in any capacity moving forward, and we value as much as anything in our work life the quality of the people we’re around and quality of the life that we have when we’re working with those people, and that’s A++ when you’re working with Marvel.
Watch the "Avengers: Endgame" trailer below: