Monday, July 2, 2018

The July 2018 Follow-Up Post

For the uninitiated, my "follow-up" posts are semi-regular installments where I write about recent developments related to topics unrelated I've blogged about in the past, but which I didn't think needed a whole new write-up to themselves.  The original posts are linked below for your convenience.

The MoviePass Math, Part 2 - We all knew that this wasn't going to last.  After several months of little adjustments to the terms and services, Moviepass has removed the option for unlimited plans for new customers at the lower prices.  Repeat viewings of the same movie are no longer allowed. It's also teamed up for a promotional tie-in with I Heart Radio for some reason. From the financials that Moviepass's parent company has released, it's still totally unclear how the business model makes any sense, and the end is almost certainly near.  I expect that we'll be seeing more limitations placed on existing customers as time goes by. Also, their claim that they aren't selling the data collected on their users is pretty preposterous. Of course they're selling the data. It's what everybody does.  At least they're riling up some comeptition - see AMC's newly announced subscription plan.

Netflix v. Cannes - And the cold war has officially begun.  The biggest story out of Cannes was the movies that didn't play the festival, namely Alfonso Cuaron's "Roma," Jeremy Saulnier's "Hold the Dark," Paul Greengrass' "Norway," and the long awaited reconstruction of Orson Welles' "The Other Side of the Wind."  Frankly, both parties are going to be just fine. Cannes had plenty of big names this year, including Spike Lee, Terry Gilliam, Lars von Trier, and Asghar Farhadi. Netflix clearly doesn't need any of the bona fides that Cannes could bestow on their content, having become too big to ignore over the last year.  They also made some small but important inroads during awards season too. The extent of the protectionism around French theatrical runs is pretty absurd, and Netflix is definitely overreacting, but all of this is really just symbolic posturing in the end.

Roll the "Oats" - A couple of additional shorts were released on the Oats Studios channel since I posted.  However, the biggest development is Neill Blomkamp's rather reckless attempt to crowdfund a feature film based on the "Firebase" short.  Frankly, I thought "Firebase" was one of the least effective of the Oats shorts, though I could see some potential in the premise. At least it didn't feel as derivative as some of the others.  However, the way that Blomkamp went about trying to raise funds, not using Kickstarter or Indiegogo, not having a concrete dollar amount as a goal, and scoffing about contributor rewards, was pretty suspect.  The campaign lasted all of nine days before being pulled, and it was obvious that Blomkamp had severely underestimated the amount of interest in a "Firebase" feature. No word yet on whether the Oats shorts still listed as being in the works, like "Lima," will still be released.     

Night of the Living Cancellation, Part II - Well, the success of "Roseanne" really did it. Now there are plans to revive just about every sitcom that ever saw much success, even fairly recent stuff like "30 Rock" and "The Office." At this rate, they'll be bringing back "MASH" before the year is out. The most high profile one is on the horizon is "Murphy Brown," which I have very mixed feelings about. I loved the early years of "Murphy Brown," and the thought of the characters having to navigate the horrors of the vastly different TV news world of 2018 could be interesting to see. Also, Grant Shaud is coming back as Miles Silverberg, which is a big plus for me. The show was never the same after he left. Then again, I can think of so many different ways this could go wrong. Again, see "Roseanne."
Cancellation Watch 2018 - And while we're on the subject, a few of of the other higher profile cancellations did wind up being shuffled to other platforms. "The Expanse" was picked up by Amazon Prime and Netflix saved "Lucifer."  As for "Roseanne," those high ratings meant the show was bound to live on in one form or another.  I'm planning to write a full post on that situation later on.     

Candy Crushin' - After a multi-year break, I'm playing again, and it's kind of awe-inspiring looking at all the new mechanics that have been added to the game since 2014 to keep you playing and incentivize other behavior.  They even worked some limited video ads into the game, trading views for extra boosters. 

Cliffhanger Crisis - "Eerie, Indiana" producer Karl Schaefer finally cleared up the origins of Dash X for me via a Reddit IAMA.  Spoiler: He's an alien!

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