British star Benedict Cumberbatch said Thursday he was “thrilled” over Netflix’s role in the film industry, but added that streaming services still had to support cinemas.
The “Sherlock” and “Doctor Strange” star was at the Venice film festival where his latest, Netflix-backed movie “The Power of the Dog” is competing for the Golden Lion.
“We live in a very uncertain time,” he told AFP. “We’re a variant-hair’s breadth away from all this — being in a cinema — not being possible again.
“I’m kind of thrilled that we have somebody who’s going to get the work seen. Netflix are very supportive of a film industry that involves creatives at every level and also at the end, a cinematic release — for a period of time.”
As cinemas reopen in many countries after pandemic-induced closures, Hollywood has been deeply torn over whether to keep releasing films on streaming services alongside traditional theatre releases.
Cumberbatch’s Marvel co-star Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over its decision to release superhero movie “Black Widow” on its streaming service this summer, saying it cost her millions of dollars in cinema revenue.
Another major blockbuster, “Dune”, which premieres in Venice on Friday, will also get a simultaneous release on HBO Max.
– ‘The Power of the Dog’ -Having spent $165 million on awe-inspiring visual effects, “Dune” director Denis Villeneuve recently described that decision as “ridiculous”.
“The best way I can compare it is to drive a speedboat in your bathtub,” he told Total Film.
Cumberbatch agreed that streamers need to keep the cinema experience alive, and said he was confident that Netflix was striking the right balance.
“The people who work for Netflix are all cineastes, we’re all filmmakers, we all want to have that communal joy that we’re hopefully going to have tonight,” he said, speaking about the imminent premiere of “The Power of the Dog”.
“Culturally, it’s really important for streaming services to help nourish that. As long as it really is happening and not their version of greenwashing — I don’t know what the phrase would be — as long as it’s not just good talk, then great.”
He added that, while he was excited to be back at a film festival, he had a bit of trouble seeing the Italian flag after England’s traumatic World Cup final loss earlier this summer.
“(The premiere) will be the most people I’ve been in a room with, apart from the Wembley final, but we don’t talk about that,” he said, laughing.
“I saw the Italian flag and I suddenly had this weird depth-charge of sadness go off in me from the last time I saw that flag, which was when I also saw the St George flag wrapped around people drowned in rain, going home looking at their shoe laces.”
Netflix is facing a formidable challenge as it expands into video games to keep the attention of customers in the increasingly competitive world of streaming television.
The streaming television leader offered details of its plans to move into games in its latest update confirming cooling growth even as the Silicon Valley giant spins off hit shows.
Analysts said the Netflix move is not aimed at disrupting the expanding gaming market but keeping its own viewers interested by offering new kinds of content.
“Entertainment and tech brands are adding gaming because it is adjacent to their video products, which makes gaming a somewhat natural extension of what they already do,” said eMarketer analyst Ross Benes.
“Adding gaming allows them to suck up more of people’s time and become further embedded within their customers’ daily habits.”
Benes reasoned that Netflix games will give people impetus to stick with the service but are unlikely to significantly boost subscriptions.
Loup Ventures manager partner Gene Munster called Netflix’s action a “smart move to retain and inch up paid subscriptions” noting there are some two billion gamers worldwide.
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter on Wednesday expected the Netflix move to have “zero” impact on the game world.
“We view the foray into games as an acknowledgement by management that the video content pipeline is flowing more slowly, with content costs continually on the rise,” Pachter said in a note to investors.
“We also view games as a ‘shiny new object’ that might distract investors from what we perceive to be Netflix’s slowing growth.”
Chief product officer Greg Peters said during an earnings call that getting into video games will be a multiyear effort with Netflix starting small in the mobile games arena.
“We really see this as an extension of the core entertainment offering that we’ve been focused on for the last 20 years,” Peters said.
“We’re going to try a bunch of different games through a variety of different mechanisms to see what’s really working for our members.”
Netflix executives said they would play to the strengths of shows to create interactive fantasy worlds for fans, and that they are talking with video game makers about licensing deals.
– Game gauntlet – Netflix said games will be included in members’ Netflix subscription at no additional cost, augmenting shows and films.
Netflix has dabbled with games before, releasing an interactive “Bandersnatch” episode of original series “Black Mirror” and also a free mobile game spinning off its hit show “Stranger Things.”
“They will attract few gamers, if any, and don’t have compelling (intellectual property) that will allow them to create compelling games,” Pachter said in the note.
“The business graveyard is littered with the corpses of content companies that have failed at making mobile games, with Disney the most prominent failure.”
Even video game industry veterans have missed the mark with mobile games.
Hit games spinning off of television shows are rarities, as are winning titles based on films, raising the question of why Netflix believes it can succeed where those with more experience have failed.
“The marriage of Hollywood video production and games based on that content has faced a troubled history,” said Third Bridge senior analyst Joe McCormack, noting that both Disney and NBCUniversal have shuttered video game units.
“Whether Netflix can change the script seems primarily driven by cultural differences between those Hollywood and video gaming studios.”
Competition in the mobile game industry is intense. If Netflix wants to field more sophisticated games, it faces technological hurdles.
Console quality games streamed from the cloud require high-speed internet connections to avoid lag and controllers players can use to command action.
And in that arena, Netflix would be up against cloud game services run by Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Sony.
“This is complex stuff, and we think that while Netflix has vast plans for succeeding in games, it has started its efforts with half-vast ideas,” Pachter said of cloud gaming.
Netflix’s push into video games plays to its strengths of storytelling and content creation, and is intended to help the core subscription service grow, according to executives.
“We are in the business of making these amazing worlds and great storylines and incredible characters,” Peters said.
“And we know the fans of those stories want to go deeper; they want to engage further.”
The wait is finally over for Kemi Adetiba’s ‘King of Boys 2’.
The filmmaker and director has confirmed the arrival of ‘King of Boys 2’, the sequel to her 2018 multi-award-winning movie. It means one thing, Labaru is coming.
In a lengthy post shared on her Instagram accompanied by pictures of billboards across cities teasing the movie, Adetiba revealed that the movie production seemed like a dream that would never happen at first.
“If I’ve ever shown bravado on this app, please ignore. I cried ugly, happy tears this morning. I’m talking snorting dripping, happy tears. I then got on a twenty-minute video call with Sola Sobowale, and we both cried together,” she wrote.
“This is what dreams are made of. A lot of work has gone into this. After almost dying last year and moving straight from the hospital (after being sick for almost 7 months) to the KOB 2 set only six weeks later.”
“I’m grateful to the entire KOB 2 production family. I love you guys more than you know. This is us. Thank you to the amazingly talented actors that gave us their talent to keep safe for them housed in a film. I pray we did you justice, and never let you down.
“And finally… Thank You, Netflix for not only pushing us for greatness but also teaching us so many things needed to elevate to the next level.”
The first installment of King Of Boys got several nods from critics and fans alike with fans singing praises of Sola Sobowale’s performance in the motion picture. Even though the first was premiered in cinemas before it was eventually streamed on Netflix, the sequel will go straight to the streaming giant.
Netflix Naija also teased us with a simple post that read, “Word on the street is that she’s coming back. Let me know if you see her.” #LaburuIsComing
If the reference finds you lost, it is probably because you need to watch the first installment of King of Boys. But if you do not mind spoilers, then you should know that Eniola Salami, self-proclaimed Laburu, is the eponymous King of Boys. She sits at the head of a table of gang-lords and whatever deal any of the other men on the table makes, they are obligated to give her a percentage.
Now that we are getting a second part, we have some questions!
To recap, the first part ended with Eniola in exile for five years. From what we saw, she went into exile after she was declared wanted by law enforcement authorities all over the country.
She started to seek power and prominence of a different kind. She wanted to be a minister but the barriers to crossing from the underworld to mainstream politics were higher than what she expected. Will the crossover happen this time?
Then there is Makanaki (played by Reminisce), who wants to become the King of Boys. A heist had provided him with money and with which he wants to buy power. He openly insults her; she vows to end him. Will she keep her word?
“King Of Boys 2” written, produced, and directed by Kemi Adetiba, will include Sola Sobowale, Remilekun “Reminisce” Safaru, iLLBliss, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Nse Ikpe Etim, Efa Iwara, Toni Tones, Jide Kosoko, Osas Ighodaro, and more.
No word yet on when the movie will be released, but that is okay. We will just keep our fingers crossed and renew our Netflix subscription.
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex and wife of Britain’s Prince Harry, is to produce an animated adventure series for Netflix about a 12-year-old girl who is inspired by historical female figures, her production company said Wednesday.
The couple signed a deal to produce content for the popular streaming platform after quitting their royal duties in Britain.
The animated series, the first to be announced by Archewell Productions, the company the couple formed together and which is named after their son Archie, is to be called “Pearl.”
“Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to overcome life’s daily challenges,” Meghan said in a statement.
“I’m thrilled that Archewell Productions, partnered with the powerhouse platform of Netflix, and these incredible producers, will together bring you this new animated series, which celebrates extraordinary women throughout history.”
Last year, the couple announced the company would create a documentary series about the Invictus Games for wounded servicemen and women, which Prince Harry has long championed.
Meghan will be an executive producer for “Pearl,” alongside several others including Carolyn Soper, director of the animated movie “Sherlock Gnomes” and Liz Garbus, a US film maker whose work includes “Lost Girls,” as well as David Furnish, a Canadian filmmaker and husband of Elton John.
Earlier this year, Meghan published an illustrated children’s book called “The Bench,” which started out as a Father’s Day poem for Prince Harry.
Rege-Jean Page will not return for the second season of record-breaking Regency romance “Bridgerton,” Netflix said Friday, prompting howls of despair from fans of the dashing Duke of Hastings.
The wildly popular series from “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes puts a modern twist on the books about an upper-class family in early 19th-century England, including color-blind casting.
British-Zimbabwean actor Page was a breakout star for the first season, but his character’s storylines largely conclude in the opening volume of Julia Quinn’s original books, which each follow a different sibling of the Bridgerton family.
“Dearest Readers, while all eyes turn to Lord Anthony Bridgerton’s quest to find a Viscountess, we bid adieu to Rege-Jean Page, who so triumphantly played the Duke of Hastings,” said a letter on the show’s Twitter account.
“We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family.”
In January, Netflix announced that “Bridgerton” had become the streaming platform’s most popular new series, watched by over 82 million households.
It cast several Black actors in high-society roles — including Page — despite the fact slavery was only abolished in 1833 in England and racism was rife.
“Remember: the Duke is never gone,” wrote Rhimes on Instagram. “He’s just waiting to be binge watched all over again.”
But some fans were apoplectic, with one writing: “It’s a joke, right? If not then you just killed that show.”
“This better be a belated April fools joke,” wrote another.
The first season followed Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) as she made her debut in Regency London, seeking a husband, while the second will focus on her brother Lord Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey.)
“Daphne will remain a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer –- more intrigue and romance than my readers may be able to bear,” said the letter published Friday.
Streaming television colossus Netflix on Friday was dabbling with more strictly enforcing its rule against sharing passwords with people living elsewhere, according to US media reports.
Some Netflix users who were apparently tapping into other people’s accounts turned to Twitter to share news of an apparent crackdown along with posts of a notice telling them they need to be subscribers to keep watching the service.
Netflix included an offer to try the service free for 30 days, according to a copy posted at Twitter.
“Oh no, Netflix doing the purge?” the Twitter user wrote in the post.
Netflix offers to verify who is trying to log into an account by sending a code via text message or email to the subscriber to confirm the user lives with them.
“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” a Netflix spokesperson is quoted as telling US media outlets including The Streamable, which broke the news.
It was not certain the test of the account-user check would turn into a crackdown on password sharing across the service.
Nearly a third of subscribers to television streaming services such as Netflix share their passwords with people who don’t live with them, according to a survey last year by consulting firm Magid.
The practice has long been tolerated by California-based Netflix, which has said that “guardrails” are in place to prevent extreme abuses in password sharing.
People stuck at home due to the pandemic have turned to the internet for entertainment from streaming television to online video game play.
By the end of last year, Netflix solidified its lead position in video sharing by passing 200 million paid subscribers worldwide for the first time.
Here are the nominees in key categories for the 78th Golden Globe Awards, which will be handed out on Sunday.
Netflix’s “Mank” — set in Hollywood’s Golden Age about the making of “Citizen Kane” — leads all films with six nominations, followed by another Netflix movie, “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” at five.
Comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be back to host the event — the first major awards show of a pandemic-era season that culminates with the Oscars on April 25 — though they will be live on opposite coasts due to the health crisis.
– FILM – Best film, drama
“Promising Young Woman”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Best film, musical or comedy
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Best actor, drama
Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”
Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”
Gary Oldman, “Mank”
Tahar Rahim, “The Mauritarian”
Best actress, drama
Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Andra Day, “The United States vs Billie Holiday”
Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”
Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”
Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”
Best actor, musical or comedy
Sacha Baron Cohen, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
James Corden, “The Prom”
Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”
Dev Patel, “The Personal History of David Copperfield”
Disney said Thursday its streaming services flourished while its parks, travel and film businesses remained hobbled by the pandemic at the end of last year.
The entertainment colossus behind the Magic Kingdom and all its entertainment wonders saw subscriptions at its streaming services surge to more than 146 million subscribers, as people hunkering down due to the pandemic have turned to sources of online entertainment.
The audience growth for Disney+, Hulu, ESPN and India’s Hotstar comes as the parent company’s travel and amusement park business suffered, and shows the entertainment giant is gaining ground on leading streaming service Netflix’s 203 million subscribers.
“We’re confident that, with our robust pipeline of exceptional, high-quality content and the upcoming launch of our new Star-branded international general entertainment offering, we are well-positioned to achieve even greater success going forward,” Disney chief executive Bob Chapek said in an earnings release.
The growth of Disney’s streaming services, with the bulk of the audience made up of the 95 million subscribers who joined Disney+ since it launched about a year ago, trounced expectations.
Disney+ alone added 21.2 million paid subscribers in the final quarter of last year, according to the earnings report.
The entertainment giant is prioritizing exclusive programming, original shows and movies, as well as bundled streaming services to build on the momentum of its various offerings, which extend beyond Disney+ to include ESPN, Hulu and Hotstar.
Hit launches at Disney+ at the end of last year included an animated film “Soul” that combined comedy and drama with a message about finding the spark that gives life meaning.
The quarter also featured a new season of original Star Wars spin-off series “The Mandalorian.”
Disney has played to the strengths of its Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars teams, as well as its own studio content at the streaming service.
“Disney+ has been a massive success and is a testament to Disney’s brand equity and expertise in storytelling,” said eMarketer analyst Eric Haggstrom.
“This has been one of the most successful consumer product launches in recent memory.”
The analyst expected Disney streaming services to continue growing, and that its parks, television and movie businesses will recover quickly as Covid-19 vaccines are administered and pent-up demand is unleashed.
– Tending to talent – The pandemic hit Disney’s parks and experiences unit hardest, with the company’s resorts closed or operating at reduced capacity and its cruise ships idle, according to executives.
Revenue in that unit plunged more than 50 percent, turning it from a big profit engine to a loss on the balance sheet.
Film and television production has also been disrupted by the pandemic, although much of it resumed in the recently ended quarter, the company reported.
Disney anticipated an additional billion dollars in costs this year associated with government regulations and safety measures for “employees, talent and guests” as a result of the health crisis.
The company also did not release any new films to theaters in the quarter, but stressed anew that it expected to return to debuting movies in cinemas.
Revenue in the quarter fell 22 percent to $16.25 billion but beat market expectations. Disney reported profit of $17 million compared with $2.1 billion in the same period a year earlier.
Disney shares were up three percent in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings figures.
Netflix’s “Mank,” a black-and-white drama that dives into Hollywood’s Golden Age with the making of “Citizen Kane,” on Wednesday topped the nominations for the pandemic-delayed Golden Globes, as female directors finally broke through with multiple nods.
“Mank” earned six nominations, including best drama, followed by fellow Netflix movie “The Trial of the Chicago 7” on five, in an announcement that offered an important, early glimpse into the movies leading this year’s unique awards season.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which has only previously nominated five female film directors in its long history, gave Globes nods to three women in the category this year.
The unveiling of the nominations, remotely co-hosted by “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker and Taraji P Henson, whittled down the list of films and stars headed for the Globes ceremony later this month — itself seen as a bellwether for the Oscars in April.
As expected, pandemic-related theater closures and blockbuster delays boosted smaller, stay-at-home movies from streamers this year, as Netflix thrashed the competition with a whopping 22 film nominations — up from an impressive 17 last year.
Rival Amazon Prime earned seven film nominations, including three apiece for civil rights-themed play adaptation “One Night in Miami” and “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.”
Sacha Baron Cohen starred in the sequel mockumentary about fictional Kazakh journalist Borat — which famously entrapped Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani — and earned a second acting nomination for his supporting work in “Chicago 7,” about the city’s 1968 anti-war riots.
“We’re so honoured — and just in case we don’t win any, I’ve already hired Rudy Giuliani to contest the results,” tweeted the British comedian.
– ‘5 Bloods’ snubbed – A small batch of prestige titles from Tinseltown’s traditional major studios held their own, with Disney’s “Nomadland,” Sony’s “The Father” and Universal’s “Promising Young Woman” each earning four nods.
#MeToo revenge thriller “Promising Young Woman” in particular exceeded expectations, with recognition for best drama, director, screenplay and actress for Carey Mulligan.
Mulligan will compete with Viola Davis for 1920s blues drama “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” as well as Frances McDormand for “Nomadland,” which swept the prizes at the Venice and Toronto festivals and is the pick of many experts for overall best picture.
In the acting categories, late “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman was also nominated for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
But he missed out on a second posthumous nod for “Da 5 Bloods” — which failed to snare any nominations, despite the choice of director Spike Lee’s children as this year’s Globes ambassadors, and a widely praised lead performance by Delroy Lindo.
Instead the fiercely competitive best actor in a drama category will feature heavyweights such as Anthony Hopkins for “The Father,” adapted from a French play about dementia, and Gary Oldman for “Mank.”
Surprisingly, Meryl Streep missed out on a nomination for Netflix musical “The Prom,” which saw British talk show host James Corden honored instead.
– Female directors arrive – Last year, the HFPA was slammed for its failure to nominate any female directors, but this time Chloe Zhao (“Nomadland”), Regina King (“One Night in Miami”) and Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) all earned nods.
Only five women had been nominated for best director across 77 previous editions of the Globes, with Barbra Streisand still the only female winner for 1983’s “Yentl.” Zhao becomes the first Asian female recognized in the category.
Disney+’s “Hamilton,” created from multiple performances featuring the original Broadway cast, earned two nominations, including best musical or comedy film, and best actor for creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
It is not allowed to compete at the Oscars, meaning the Globes represent the best chance for the Tony-winning musical about the US founding fathers to scoop up film accolades.
Foreign-language films, separated out into their own Globes pool, saw acclaimed Korean-American family drama “Minari” nominated as it bids to emulate last year’s all-conquering “Parasite.”
In the television categories, Netflix was again dominant, scoring 20 nominations. Closest rival HBO earned seven, plus a further two for its new streaming platform HBO Max with “The Flight Attendant.”
The latest season of British royal family drama “The Crown” had the most recognition with six nominations, ahead of recent Emmys smash hit “Schitt’s Creek” on five.
The 78th Golden Globes, voted on by the 90-odd members of the HFPA, will be broadcast on February 28. The season-crowning Oscars follow on April 25.
Bridgerton has become Netflix’s most popular new series, with more than 82 million households tuning in to watch the period drama, the streaming service has announced.
The show reached number one in 83 countries including the United States, Britain, Brazil, France, India and South Africa, Netflix said in a statement Wednesday.
“I’m SO proud of the incredible team behind this show! And thank you guys for loving it,” 25-year-old actor, Phoebe Dynevor, who plays Daphne Bridgerton, wrote on Instagram.
Netflix said a record 82 million households watched the show in its first 28 days online, describing it as its “biggest series ever.”
The previous record was 76 million views over a four-week period for “The Witcher.”
The figures are not subject to third party verification, unlike audience measurements for broadcast television.
Bridgerton has made the top 10 in every country except Japan, the company added.
The drama, set in early 1800s London, centers on the well-to-do Bridgerton family as it tries to navigate Regency-era high society in England.
The show, with its outlandish costumes and racy sex scenes, has been lauded for casting Black actors in period drama roles that are traditionally played by white actors.
“It’s designed to be more lavish, sexier and funnier than the standard period drama — and that’s what so surprised and delighted our members,” said Netflix vice president of original series, Jinny Howe.
Bridgerton is produced by acclaimed American producer Shonda Rhimes and is based on a series of romance novels by Julia Quinn.