Holy Machete Wielding Jason! Shady Accounting and Profit Slashing, Alleges Producer Filing Lawsuit

see: Killer Friday The 13th Jason Coffee Table

As most know, Friday the 13th is a long-winded horror franchise, The star antagonist wears a hockey mask and carries a machete.

My interest in the franchise has waned since the 80s, admittedly, but they’ve kept making sequel after sequel after sequel. From a financial perspective, the original 1980 film was a huge profit maker, one of the most profitable films ever (see: The Ten Most Profitable Movies of All Time).

One of the producers of more recent films is alleging some questionable accounting has occurred and he’s not been compensated correctly, leading to a lawsuit.

Cunningham is already engaged in a battle with writer Victor Miller over rights. Now pending a ruling at the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, that case involves important copyright and labor issues and has delayed any reboot, new sequels, and other derivative works. As fans patiently wait the conclusion there, Cunningham is throwing himself into another big battle — this one against Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures, with “Hollywood Accounting” in the first lines, and talk of how Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings “lost” money soon following.

‘Friday the 13th’ Producer Sues Warner Bros, Paramount for Profits | Hollywood Reporter

This situation seems familiar to music artists complaining about shady accounting with their royalties and more recently, Disney allegedly not paying several authors (see: Alan Dean Foster Isn’t The Only Author Not Receiving Royalties from Disney says The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America)

Don’t like reading about creative people not being paid what they are due. This could be a mistake, so don’t want to rush to any judgments.

Shark Tank Mark Cuban’s Company To Sell Prescription Drugs At Staggering Discount

It’s about time somebody went after the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs. Thank you, Mark Cuban, and business partner for seeking to tame this ripoff jungle.

Now under Cuban’s brand name, the private-label arrangement allows Oshymansky to buy from third party suppliers, take care of the labeling and branding laws himself, and sell it at a serious discount with just a 15% mark-up for the business expenses. This method allowed the pair to lower the cost of an anti-parasitic medication called albendazole from its normal U.S. price range of $225-$500, down to just 20 bucks.

Billionaire Mark Cuban’s New Drug Company is Producing Low-Cost Generic Drugs Cutting 90% of the Markup

While we don’t currently take any prescription medications, a lot of people do, and it’s exciting to see the Mavs owner attempting to disrupt this price inflated marketplace.

For the record, of the sharks, he’s consistently been my favorite. Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary, is probably #2, simply for his intentionally overinflated ego persona. Can’t believe he’s actually like that in real life, but who knows?

Haven’t watched every season, every episode, but enjoyed most of what we’ve watched. The show becomes a bit derivative after a few episodes, but then that’s the problem for a lot of reality shows. It does have the added benefit of exposing viewers to potential cool businesses to check out.

Who’s your favorite shark on the TV show?

The Prizm Outlets Mall in Primm, Nevada Has Lost 95% Of Its Value In Six Months

In March 2020, the real Bonnie & Clyde death car was on display at Whiskey Pete’s Casino in Primm, Nevada

Whenever we visit Las Vegas and have a vehicle, we like to travel to Primm, Nevada. It’s a somewhat short 40 minute drive from the mega city in the desert and has a couple of casinos.

The casinos seemed very slow there last year. Uncharacteristically slow business, and this was just before the pandemic shut everything down in Vegas (see: Movie Cars at Terrible’s Casino Just Outside Las Vegas). The post was made after everything closed, but we were there the same month it closed.

We haven’t visited the Prizm Outlets mall, also located in Primm, but apparently it hasn’t been doing well during the pandemic since reopening either.

The Prizm Outlets mall, about a 40-minute drive south of Las Vegas on the California border, lost 95% of its value in six months. It may not be the last mall to do so. Formerly known as the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas, the Primm, Nevada mall was auctioned off on Wednesday at a final price of $1.525 million, compared with a $28.2 million appraisal in July, according to a person with knowledge of the results on commercial real estate auction site Ten-X. The buyer wasn’t disclosed.

Vegas Mall That Lost 95% of Value Might Be Just the Beginning

95% of the value?! Ouch. Had to look up where this mall was in relation to the Bonnie & Clyde death car exhibit. Check this out, it’s actually featured on Google Maps!

With the other activities this last trip, we didn’t get there (ouch, that makes us part of the problem, I suppose), but if/when we do someday, we just have to take some pictures of the mall. Maybe even do a little business while there, just to say, “we bought something at a mall that lost 95% of its value!”

If memory serves, there is a gas station there which claims to be one of the world’s biggest gas stations. We did stop at the gas station in March 2020.

Also curious if the Prism mall has a movie theater as an anchor business? Movie theaters and malls go together like popcorn and butter.

Microsoft Has Patented Technology that Can Make Chatbot Mimic A Dead Person

Scene from the Amazon TV series Upload, season 1 available to binge

…but they don’t plan on using it in an actual product.

Really? From a tech perspective, this is making me think of the Amazon TV series Upload (see: TV REVIEW: Upload Season 1 – All 10 Episodes Rated and Reviewed)

Here’s how the technology would work if it were in fact built into a product. According to the patent information, the tool would cull “social data” such as images, social media posts, messages, voice data and written letters from the chosen individual. That data would be used to train a chatbot to “converse and interact in the personality of the specific person.” It could also rely on outside data sources, in case the user asked a question of the bot that couldn’t be answered based on the person’s social data. “Conversing in the personality of a specific person may include determining and/or using conversational attributes of the specific person, such as style, diction, tone, voice, intent, sentence/dialogue length and complexity, topic and consistency,” as well as using behavioral attributes such as interests and opinions and demographic information such as age, gender and profession, the patent states.

Microsoft patented a chatbot that would let you talk to dead people. It was too disturbing for production – CNN

Maybe this blog will be able to continue to have posts from me when I’m dead. Posts created by a Microsoft bot that can mimic the “style, diction, tone, voice, intent, sentence/dialogue, length and complexity, topic and consistency.”

I’m joking of course, but Microsoft didn’t patent this so it could sit on the shelf forever. They will use this in some type of product, despite saying otherwise.

Don’t fall for the whole “it’s disturbing” bit. Tech companies will trade socially unacceptable behavior if it promises huge profits. Just look at Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. They have championed a level of privacy intrusion using advertising that is unprecedented and meanwhile, we’re all the dumber because we keep using their “free” products and services. Yeah, not being a hypocrite, we have traded our privacy to use their services, too.

If this chatbot tech can be used to make a buck, it will … someday. Otherwise, why patent the tech to begin with? To stop Google and others from doing it? I’m sure the R&D at Micro$oft is behind the scenes working on something, as I write this. If I had to guess, I’d say probably in the form of a videogame for the Xbox platform. Imagine being able to clone your gameplay attributes and others can play against an AI like you when you’re offline. Not dead, but just not playing. Your character could continue to play 24/7 365 and you would only have to pilot your character here and there. Your artificial persona could grind that MMORPG while you’re at work.

I see all sorts of tech possibilities with this type of AI. And it doesn’t have to involve replicating a dead person in a chatbot.

The article mentions a Black Mirror episode where a woman speaks to her deceased relative. I keep returning to Upload, though, that TV series on Amazon where you can upload your consciousness before you die, thus living in a virtual hotel. That makes more sense to me as a way for the tech to become more socially acceptable. Whether or not this comes to pass in my lifetime remains to be seen, but don’t think for a second that many tech companies are trying to be the first in the race to crack the riddle of AI.

Upload Season 2 is currently filming with no release date announced as of yet, season 1 is available for binge watching on Amazon Prime Video.

Another Plus Branded Streaming Service Joins The Crowd: Documentary+

A new streaming service is available on Roku that focuses on documentaries. Of course it’s going with a plus in the title. Documentary+ (docplus.com) is the name and it’s ad-supported, no monthly fee required.

A joint project between Tony Hsieh (the former Zappos CEO who recently passed away) and studio XTR, Documentary+ launched with a catalog of films by several high-profile directors and filmmakers, among them Werner Herzog, Terrence Malick, Kathryn Bigelow, and Spike Jonze, to name just a few. At launch, the service has a pretty broad selection of categories to choose from, including politics, sports, comedy, music, and true crime, among other genres, with a focus specifically on premium content. The service has more than 150 titles available at launch.

Documentary+ Is the Latest Service to Enter the Streaming Wars

I’m a documentary fan. It’s not a huge genre of interest, but it’s somewhere in the middle of genres I enjoy watching from time to time. While writing this post, I watched the Netflix miniseries on disgraced NFL player Aaron Hernandez.

Am in favor of niche streaming services, but the selection so far at this site, didn’t jump out at me with a bunch of must-see documentaries. There are more on Netflix and Amazon Prime that I’d recommend others to watch.

Still, a decent concept for a niche streaming service and you can’t beat the price, as long as the ads aren’t too intrusive.

Lung Cancer Kills Dustin Diamond at Age 44

Sadly, Dustin Diamond, best known as Screech on Saved By The Bell, didn’t beat cancer. He passed away on Monday morning 2/1/2021 due to complications from stage 4 lung cancer.

We had hoped he would pull through, despite pondering where might have gotten sick (see: Dustin Diamond Wonders If He Got Cancer from Moldy Hotels).

Dustin’s team says they’re aware his name is not necessarily the most reputable due to his history of mishaps, but they want the public to understand “he was not intentionally malevolent.” His team adds that he went through a great deal of turmoil in his life, but he was always “a humorous and high-spirited individual whose greatest passion was to make others laugh.”

Dustin Diamond Dead at 44 After Battle with Stage 4 Lung Cancer

It’s too bad that Peacock’s reunion of Saved By The Bell could not have included at least a cameo role for Screech. He was in every other version of the TV series.

When they have these reunions and reboots all the more reason why it’s important to include everybody that they can. We never know just how long we’re going to live. Diamond was only 44 years old and, regardless any of his transgressions, he was way too young to pass on.

At least Diamond will be able to see and hear Eddie Van Halen’s eruption live in the afterlife. RIP.

Wonder Woman 1984 Helps HBO Max Gain 3+ Million Subscribers To 41.5 Million

HBO Max is growing paid subscribers, but a long, long way to go to Netflix at 200+ millio

Not sure if we can credit Wonder Woman 1984, the 20% subscription discount or simultaneously releasing 17 movies between Christmas and the end of 2021 on HBO Max and in theaters.

Regardless, HBO Max are growing paid subscribers and have eclipsed 41 million.

Combined, HBO and HBO Max had 41.5 million U.S. subscribers as of the end of 2020, compared with 38.0 million as of the end of September. “The release of Wonder Woman 1984 helped drive our domestic HBO Max and HBO subscribers to more than 41 million, a full two years faster than our initial forecast,” said AT&T CEO John Stankey.

HBO Max Reaches 37.7M, Including 17.2M “Activated,” Subscribers | Hollywood Reporter

I also read another article that Nielson screwed up by declaring Soul the Christmas day winner for streaming. HBO Max had like 25% more according to that other article to be top of the charts. A ton of people watched Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max on Christmas day.

Considering the top player, Netflix, has surpassed 200 million paid subscribers (see: Streamers and Theaters in 2021 – Netflix The First To Pass 200 million subscribers, Talks About Disney+ To Analysts), HBO Max has a long road ahead. Still, a growth of 3 million paid subscribers is a noteworthy accomplishment. They might be better compared against Disney+, Hulu, CBS All Access (soon to be Paramount+) and Peacock.

Please note the intentional emphasis on “paid” subscriber. When we talk about Peacock and Apple TV+, for example, they both have subscription numbers made up of both paid and free subscribers. When you muddy the subscriber numbers with both paid and free tiers, it can hide the fact that one brings direct revenue and the other are eyeballs for advertisers. Both are important, yes, but an argument could be made that paid subscriber revenue can be more easily and transparently taken to the bank.

Put another way, everybody else would like to be in Netflix’s shoes with 200+ million paid subscribers and not known as having a lot of free or discounted subscriptions. Even Amazon, which essentially gives a Prime Video subscription to anybody that subscribes to Prime for a year. How many of their 150+ million subscriptions are paid directly vs. included with Prime?

We don’t pay directly for it, we get it as included within the Prime annual subscription. If we had to pay extra for it, not sure we’d pay more than we do for Hulu or CBS All Access, certainly not what we pay for Netflix.

The 4-hour Snyder Cut of Justice League Will Premiere On March 18, 2021

It’s official.

We’ll finally be able to watch the extended length Snyder Cut of Justice League on March 18, 2021 on HBO Max.

This is certainly a relief for all of the DC fans out there who have been waiting to see the Snyder Cut. Even after it was announced as a real thing by Warner Bros. and HBO Max, some worried that the can would continue to be kicked down the road due to the ongoing reshoots and potential pandemic delays. But the Snyder Cut is officially on the way, and it’ll be here before we know it.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League Gets Official HBO Max Release Date

This piggybacks on our last post on the subject (see: Zack Snyder’s 4-Hour Justice League Movie Not Split In Parts?) which confirmed that it will be a very, very, very, very, very long feature film.

Am looking forward to it, but with all this hype, so much time that has transpired, I’ve got a sinking suspicion it won’t measure up to the expectations. Will it be cool? Entertaining? Worth the extra $70 million spent? I don’t know. Really, they could have made several new movies with that $70 million. Was Snyder’s epic vision of what Justice League coulda, woulda, shoulda been be worth this?

Tune into HBO Max on March 21, 2021 to find out.

Sylvester Stallone Lists $110M LA Mansion – Moving To Palm Beach, Florida

The list of celebs exiting California grows, with Sylvester Stallone the latest to list his $110,000,000 mansion and looking toward greener pastures.

The “Rocky” star purchased the 3.5-acre spread in the 1990s and build a custom mansion clocking in at 21,000 square feet with a tax bill of more than $125,000, according to Dirt.com. The main home is an eight-bedroom and 12-bath mansion which a massive library/office with a barrel-vaulted ceiling. Stallone has it decked out with a ton of “Rocky” memorabilia, which isn’t likely included with the house. There’s also a “Rocky” statue, with his gloved hands raised in triumph that is guarding an arched window, the site notes.

Sylvester Stallone lists LA mansion for jaw-dropping $130M | Fox Business

Note: the article references $130 million, but an LA Times article quotes $110 million, so this post is going with the lower figure. Don’t know which is accurate.

We are looking to downsize from our home, definitely don’t have an extra $110 mil laying around, nor do we have any desire to relocate to Los Angeles. Still, can’t deny it’s a gorgeous looking home. Even without the Rocky memorabilia it looks appealing.

But the price tag. How many people have $110mil budgeted for their home? This is a home for a tech mogul or some other kind of wealthy individual. And somebody who wants to live in California. No, no, no thanks.

Anybody reading in the market for a home like this? Know anybody that would be interested in buying this and actually has the doe-ray-me? Yo Adrian!!!

Budweiser, Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cutting Back On 2021 Super Bowl LV Ad Spending

Part of the communal entertainment of the Super Bowl are watching the creative commercials. For many years now, it’s become a tradition of sorts.

In 2021, the tradition is facing an unusual — to say the least — business environment.

It’s no secret those ad spots are very expensive, costing millions for seconds of airplay. It’s a valuable captive audience, but this year is the first with a pandemic bearing down on businesses like the sun over a valley.

And Budweiser, Coca-cola and Pepsi, at least with their signature brands, are cutting back.

Budweiser isn’t the only big company skipping this year’s game. Coca-Cola (KO) and Pepsi (PEP) both announced in recent weeks they won’t be buying ads during Super Bowl LV. The sports spectacle has been “struggling to attract the degree of advertising demand it usually draws” because of the pandemic’s economic affects on company’s bottom lines, said research firm eMarketer. For example, Coca-Cola recently slashed 2,000 jobs as it grapples with a decline in revenue from lost sales in restaurants. Pepsi said it would rather focus its marketing efforts on its sponsored Super Bowl halftime show.

Budweiser is skipping the Super Bowl for the first time in nearly four decades – CNN

Can you blame these businesses for reducing their ad buying? There is another angle. How many people will be watching on traditional TV in 2021? How many are watching through streaming TV? How will these viewing numbers compare to prior years?

These are all good questions, and we don’t have the answers. My suspicion is that the number of viewers has been declining. Perhaps the ad spends aren’t just being cut from the Super Bowl but from traditional television in general.

This isn’t to say that this year’s Super Bowl — and honestly I don’t even know as I’m writing this who will be competing this year (that’s how invested I am in the NFL these days — hey, the Seahawks are out, that’s all I know!).

Ok, I felt guilty in that last paragraph so I just googled the answer: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

No wonder a west coaster like me doesn’t know who’s in it 😉 You planning on tuning into the big game this year? Any commercials you’re looking forward to watching?