AMC Raises $917 Million to Stave Off Bankruptcy … for Awhile

The Joker’s expression in Harley Quinn sums up AMC’s movie theater business

Good to see that AMC got more creative (see: Yes, AOC: “Sex work is work” – Maybe AMC Should Be More Desperate)

For all of the gloomy predictions involving AMC — some they brought up themselves — they have made some creative financing moves to raise $917 million and push bankruptcy away for awhile.

The movie theater operator said it raised $917 million through a combination of equity and debt. On the equity side, AMC secured $506 million by issuing 164.7 million new shares along with the previously announced $100 million of additional first-lien debt and converting $100 million of second-lien debt into equity.

AMC Entertainment Scores Nearly $1 Billion in New Financing

This should propel AMC though a rocky 2021. We’re happy for them. I’d like to declare by 2022 life will be better in theaters, but there’s no strong evidence that will be the case. Sure, the vaccines are coming, but there are numerous issues (see: Large Amounts of Frontline Workers are Refusing To Take Vaccine, Citing Various Concerns and Washington State Now Has Confirmed Cases Of Faster-Spreading COVID-19 Variant B.1.1.7)

Not trying to be pessimistic here, just realistic. There’s nothing that’s happened the last year to indicate we are anywhere close to out of the woods. As I write this, movie theaters — including AMC — have been closed almost 9 of the last 12 months and are closed right now. They aren’t doing any significant business while the government forces them to stay closed.

Lawsuit Hopes Dying Cable TV Fees Might Be Resurrected In the Form of Local Streaming Fees

Harley Quinn’s rage needed for idea that local government fees be passed along to streaming

Back in August of last year, we posted a story on: New Boston, Texas Small Town (and other cities) Suing Netflix, Hulu and Others Over Local Utility Fees.

Here with an update of sorts: the battle seems only to have expanded. If it wasn’t class action time six months ago, it is now.

But let’s keep it real. What is this about, really?

Local governments smelling money in the air from big tech companies. Since they are seeing decreased fees from Cable TV providers, it’s time to look at the new source of revenue: streaming!

With little precedent, it may take years to understand the implications of these cases. Companies will likely appeal any decision, and unless the Supreme Court takes up one of the cases, states will be covered under a patchwork of lower court rulings. But an increasing number of local governments see these fees as an opportunity to recover money from the services that are slowly replacing cable TV. “They need money now, and they’ve got this law on the books,” says Bergmayer. With the status of streaming services in flux, they’ve settled on an optimistic approach: “let’s go for it and see what happens.”

The fight to make Netflix and Hulu pay cable fees – The Verge

I’m not on the side of local government on this one. Neither should anybody else that wants to see their monthly streaming fees stay low and simple. Given, Netflix and HBO Max are getting up there, but most of them are $10/month or less.

This also reminds me why I’m not a big fan of Cable TV: it’s those onerous fees, the bulk packaging of way too many garbage channels that we never watched and the painful reminder that new customers were treated to better deals than existing customers — constantly.

It’s one thing to run a promotion for brand new members, but shouldn’t loyal customers who don’t cancel and return repeatedly be treated to a better lower price over time? This would improve retention and reward customer loyalty. Instead, companies act like new customers are more important. They’re not. They’re probably less important than those who pay month after month, year after year for the service and never cancel.

I digress. A big, loud “Boooooooooo!” to this whole local fees being passed along to streaming. Glad to see Netflix and Disney (a la Hulu) lawyers are in defense mode circling this one. Deep pockets fighting back …

FilmRise Grows Grows To Over 31 Million Subscribers in 2020

FilmRise is one of those free, ad-supported TV channels we haven’t paid much attention to, but apparently a lot of people have. Sure, they’re a free service, but 31.5 million subscribers is a huge number of subscribers for anything. Props to them!

New York-based film and television studio and streaming network FilmRise reports the company had a successful year in 2020, thanks to more people turning to in-home entertainment. The free, ad-supported streaming network grew its install base 30% last year now with more than 31.5 million users.

FilmRise Reports 31.5 Million Users in 2020 | Cord Cutters News

So, just installed the app on Google TV. Strangely, we were out of storage space! Apparently, there’s only 4GB and the streaming apps we had already installed filled that up. The storage can easily be expanded adding a USB drive with a mini-USB cable, so will have to add that to our to-do list.

Anyway, launched FilmRise and found a disaster film to queue up called Icetastrophe. A mountain down is the center of a meteor that shoots out icicles and subzero wind freezing people immediately into cubes of ice. Effects, story and acting are laughable, but for a late night movie, it kind of made me chuckle. A little further checking reveals this is one of those Syfy movies and was also originally billed as a Christmas movie, with the title Christmas Icetastrophe. Sorry, guilty pleasure trash lol.

A very quick perusal didn’t yield many A-list movies and TV shows on FilmRise. But hey, they have that fun game show Celebrity Bowling!

Apparently, there is enough B and C grade content on there to interest movie lovers. Anybody reading regular use FilmRise? What do you like watching on there?

Dustin Diamond Wonders If He Got Cancer from Moldy Hotels

Recently, we came across some sad news that Screech, Dustin Diamond, from Saved By The Bell Has Stage 4 Cancer. Apparently, now he thinks he might have gotten cancer from staying in rundown, moldy hotels.

The rep says Dustin’s worked all over the country on film sets and at comedy clubs for meet-and-greets … and sometimes had to stay in pretty questionable hotels and motels, because there were no other options.

We’re told Dustin believes some of these spots might have had mold or asbestos … which he could have breathed in, causing his cancer.

TMZ – Dustin Diamond Struggling With Cause Of Cancer … Moldy Hotels To Blame?

This made me immediately hit Google and search if mold can lead to cancer. According to WebMD, no, it cannot.

Mold can cause health problems, especially allergies and asthma. But you probably don’t have to worry about it leading to lung cancer. No research directly ties mold and lung cancer. In fact, it’s a pretty far stretch to find any connection at all.

Mold Danger: Can Mold Cause Lung Cancer?

Don’t wish cancer on anyone, and as stated previously, hope a cure can be found someday sooner than later. It doesn’t sound like mold, however, is a possible culprit. He never smoked, so that’s out too. More likely it’s hereditary.

Hope he beats it.

Washington State Now Has Confirmed Cases Of Faster-Spreading COVID-19 Variant B.1.1.7

A year ago on January 20, 2020 the first case of COVID in the United States happened around 50 miles from where we live.

At the time it seemed like something medical professionals would deal with and dispatch, not lead to something that spread like fire in the woods with a heavy wind. And yet here we are a year+ later, locked down with tons of people sick and many dead from this virus.

Now, apparently, new strains of the virus are being detected. This crap just won’t go away.

The strain, sometimes called the “B.1.1.7 variant” or “SARS-CoV-2 VOC 202012/01” was first detected in the United Kingdom back in September. The variant is especially worrying, as studies have found that it spreads much more easily and quickly than the first COVID-19 strain. It does not, however, cause more severe illnesses or further increase the risk of death.

Fast-Spreading COVID-19 Variant Confirmed In Washington State | Puyallup, WA Patch

Not good news to read, no.

Another story, completely unrelated I just read was about a Tacoma police officer in an SUV running over a pedestrian in the midst of a gathering group of protestors, caught on camera and beamed out to social media.

Saturday night, glad we stayed home. We almost always stay home these days.

Not bragging, but we feel extremely fortunate to have been working this entire time, essential workers we are deemed in the industry we work in (not related in any way to this website), and not having been infected. We wear our masks, wash our hands, and try to follow most recommendations. I’d say all, but in that case, we wouldn’t go out anywhere, would pretty much go under turtle shell. Yet we’ve gone to the casinos, gone out to eat, and to the movie theaters — when they were allowed to be open, anyway.

Our position has been if we can work, if we can take that risk being out, then we might as well continue to enjoy whatever social activities in public that are allowed. That might be a bit haphazard thinking, I’d agree in retrospect, but you risk many things that can kill you just getting out of bed. Life is at least somewhat about risks.

One of our most favorite activities — going to the movies — hasn’t been available since mid November.

So much for movie theaters being able to open in January — the date has been pushed back to “at least” February 1 — now we have to worry about an even faster, easier spreading COVID-19, that first appeared abroad.

In a couple weeks, health willing of course, we’ll be traveling back to Las Vegas. We enjoy visiting the Nevada area at least once a year, but some years we’ve skipped. We are traveling to get away for a small few days. Last time we were down there was in March 2020 — once was for a vacation, the other was for Kara’s work as she was helping to train opening a new store down there believe it or not — movie theaters were closed down there as well as all casinos the second trip. The governor shut everything down except for fast food. It was an odd sight seeing the Las Vegas strip essentially like a zombie apocalypse.

So, we huddled up in a hotel, one of the few that were left open. I took her back and forth to her work and hung out in a hotel room, playing games, streaming movies and TV and reviewing them. Pretty much what I do every day 😉

Life goes on. This virus will pass in time. The vaccines are getting out there. Maybe it’s going to take awhile, but we’ll beat this thing. Please, friendly readers, stay safe out there. Do what you can to stay safe, but also keep living.

Betty White Turns 99, Still Great Example Of How To Live Happy, Long and Well

Man, who doesn’t love Betty White? Happy birthday to her, as she turned double 9’s. Just one year to hit the triple threat 100. Will be shocked if she doesn’t make it. Heck, she might just make it 10+ more years. I hope so.

With a career that spanned over eight decades and counting, including roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, as well as countless talk show and game show appearances, White has become an example of how to live well and live long. “I am blessed with good health,” she said, “so turning 99 is no different than turning 98.”

Valerie Bertinelli Shares Betty White Bloopers on Her 99th Birthday | PEOPLE.com

Like White’s humor, too. Caught her on a Comedy Central roast recently and she was funny without being profane. She has that Bill Cosby (his comedy, not his persona) type of clean comedy vibe. It’s a lot harder to be funny without being profane and Betty White does that well. She’s old school, and I mean that as a compliment.

Can you think of others that are funny and clean?

Now The Man With Suspenders Can Interview The Afterlife, Larry King Dead at 87

No official cause of death has been announced, but Larry King, entered the hospital in December with COVID, so perhaps it’s related to this miserable pandemic. He also was diagnosed with lung cancer, so there’s that.

Whatever caused his death, he’s gone now, after giving over 30,000 interviews and spending 60+ years in media, 25+ on CNN alone.

King left CNN in 2011, a move he expected would amount to retirement. But he kept working until his death, hosting “Larry King Now,” a program that aired on Ora TV, Hulu and RT America. King, it seemed, just never wanted the interview to end. “I just love what I do,” he said, “I love asking questions, I love doing the interviews.”

Larry King, legendary talk show host, dies – CNN

King worked almost literally to the end, doing what he loved best: interviewing others.

After the OJ Simpson verdict, who did he call? Larry King

He has plenty of candidates to interview wherever he roams with those springy suspenders now.

Larry King discusses his most memorable guests

What was your favorite Larry King interview?

RIP Larry King.

Bond 25 No Time To Die Delayed Again – From Spring To Fall 2021

Here comes round #__ (fill in the blank) of movie delays. Think of Rocky getting punched in the face by the Russian Ivan Drago again, again, again. Bloodied, sitting in the corner, the scantily clad ring girl sways between the ropes, another card waving in the air. What round is this? Losing count!

That’s James Bond’s seemingly cursed 25th film which has been trying to come out for, well, a couple years now and counting.

MGM has pushed No Time To Die back again, this time from April 2 to Oct 8, 2021.

Moments after MGM relocated Bond, Universal announced that the studio’s Bob Odenkirk-led action thriller “Nobody” was moving from Feb. 26 to April 2 and Sony redated “Peter Rabbit 2,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and “Cinderella.” Meanwhile, Focus Features, the specialty studio owned by Universal, bumped Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho” from April 23 back to Oct. 22. It’s also been commonly speculated that Universal’s “Fast & Furious” sequel “F9” won’t keep its May 28 release date.

‘No Time to Die’ Release Date Delayed Again – Variety

This isn’t shocking news, considering a lot of movie theaters aren’t open and there seems to be some doubt that by April enough of them will be. MGM doesn’t want to take a Tenet or Wonder Woman 1984 gamble. They want to wait until things return to normal.

It’s possible that Bond gets pushed back again, especially if summer 2021 doesn’t go much better than summer 2020 That might sounds alarmist right now, but nobody knows how long it’s going to take — really, how long — for the pandemic to subside.

Depressing? Sure, but what can MGM do. They wouldn’t sell this movie for a streaming release, not unless it received some crazy high amount (see: No Time To Buy – At $800 Million, Don’t Blame Any Streaming Company for Saying “No!”), so now they keep waiting, and paying interest on the financing.

Stay safe out there. That’s all we can say. If that means the theaters must stay closed months and months longer, then so be it. Somewhere over the rainbow …

over a billion views … and counting!

Shudder to release 11 Original Horror Movies in Q1 2021 + Joe Bob Valentine’s Special

My horror roots are still very much alive and the streaming service Shudder reminds me to share with you wonderful readers.

In Q1 2021, from January 14 (Hunted) – March 25 (Violation) they are going weekly for sharing new horror movies for subscribers.

…eleven new Shudder Original and Shudder Exclusive films set to premiere over the next eleven weeks! The streaming service teases today, “Hunted, The Queen of Black Magic, A Nightmare Wakes, After Midnight, Shook, The Dark & the Wicked, Lucky, Stay Out of the F**king Attic, Slaxx, Koko-di Koko-da and Violation together span five countries on three continents and range from dark comedy to survival horror to period psychological thrillers.

Shudder Will Be Premiering 11 New Horror Movies Across 11 Weeks; Here’s the Lineup! – Bloody Disgusting

Netflix has promised 71 new movies in 2021, so this is Shudder saying, “don’t forget about us.” In order to compete, weekly new movie and/or TV show releases are becoming the norm for streaming services. This is only good news for all of us because we’ll have plenty to pick and choose from.

Oh, and as the image up top and headline says, another Joe Bob Briggs special will be airing on February 12. Two days before Valentine’s Day Friday is going to hit jusssst right.

We were not currently subscribed to Shudder, but just pulled the trigger and re-upped. Got to have me some Joe Bob Briggs and I’m always up for more horror films. There are FREE Shudder subscription promo codes for 30 days out there, just FYI. Hint, hint, hint …

Be sure to seek those out to keep your monthly streaming costs down. Not just for Shudder, for all of the services search the internet before exiting the streaming payment pages. You might be missing out on some FREE subscription time.

Shudder will also offer you a free month when you want to cancel, so you can often receive three months of service paying for one month, for those willing to jump over a few gravestones …

Zack Snyder’s 4-Hour Justice League Movie Not Split In Parts?

Justice League ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

Holy long movies, Batman!

The Snyder Cut was supposed to be presented as a mini-series, not as one incredibly, painfully 4+ hour movie, but apparently Snyder cares nothing for our bladders.

Snyder announced at DC FanDome in Aug. 2020 that HBO Max would split the release of his Justice League cut into four one-hour episodes; a single four-hour cut of the episodes would release later, exclusively on HBO Max. Now, it appears this is not the case.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League Is No Longer a 4-Part Release | CBR

Or maybe it’s because we can just hit pause at home vs. theaters, but the crazy thing is the article linked above indicates Snyder actually wanted a theatrical release for his Frankenstein cut. LOL, seriously! Four hours in the movie theater seeing the same movie? Better have two intermissions at that monstrous length.

Are you OK watching a single movie that’s 4+ hours long? I’m looking forward to seeing the Snyder Cut of Justice League, but the length, which will be an hour or so less than an entire 8-episode season of Cobra Kai, seems way too long for any movie.

Then again, if it’s awesome, I won’t care. Will you?