Martin Scorsese Delivers Another Odd Rant About Cinema, This Time Dissing Streaming, Despite Making Deals With Them

The Irishman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Fasten your seatbelts, and prepare to ride the hypocrisy train.

And here I thought we wouldn’t be reading about any more dramatic, disappointing rants over the death of cinema as an art form thanks to the big bad wolf known as streaming from none other than legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese.

Last year, it’s hard to forget how he slayed superhero movies as theme parks and not cinema (see: Simply Dismissing Superhero Movies As ‘Not Art’ is Bad for Both Art and Business). Now he seems to be disgruntled over films being referred to as “content” and the movie business turning into, yes, the movie business.

There are too many quotes in the article linked from Scorsese to highlight, but here’s one of them.

“We can’t depend on the movie business, such as it is, to take care of cinema,” he wrote. “In the movie business, which is now the mass visual entertainment business, the emphasis is always on the word ‘business,’ and value is always determined by the amount of money to be made from any given property.”

Martin Scorsese trash talks streaming services

This is all so rich coming from a director that just signed up with Apple TV+ to make more movie content, cough, likely to debut exclusively on streaming. Also his last film, The Irishman, barely screened in theaters, thanks to movie theater elitism (see: Theater Group Crying Foul Over Netflix’s Limited Theatrical Run for Scorsese’s The Irishman).

Let’s also not forget that Scorsese couldn’t get his most recent film financed without a streaming company bailing him out (see: Scorsese’s Flower Moon rescheduled, if safe, to start filming in 2021)

Perhaps my favorite Scorsese-ism is him taking multiple years to decide he did not “have the time” to direct a superhero movie (see: WTF? Martin Scorsese Took Almost 1,500 Days To Decide He did not “have the time” To Direct Joker) lol!

Seriously, we don’t care for cinematic snobbery. We love watching movies and definitely see it as an artform — for some, anyway. For others, perhaps even for most filmmakers these days — who don’t even shoot on 35mm film anymore — it is a content factory. Guess we agree with Scorsese on that point, but just because most filmmakers bend the knee and Scorsese feels like he doesn’t have to (and he might be right to feel that way based on his awesome body of work), doesn’t mean his stature as an artist historically will be diminished.

In Scorsese’s defense, I remember being impressed by a director’s roundtable video involving current luminary directors (see: Current Movie Landscape Artistic Roundtable Featuring Scorsese, Gerwig, Phillips, Baumbach, Wang and Meirelles), where Scorsese in particular makes a compelling case for his concerns. I’m somewhat suspicious that the way the articles are being slanted, aren’t entirely making his point like he does himself.

But his quotes, my goodness, they need severe context to defend.

Regardless, if Scorsese is saying some bizarre things in his later years in interviews — or is being tragically misquoted, time and again to generate a salacious headline — his place in history is sound. Respectfully, I think he should work more on the business side of his movie-making (see: Martin Scorsese – Great Director Struggling Staying Within Budget), because making movies that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make — even if you’re the great Martin Scorsese — are not a great value proposition, art be damned, sorry, in the current cinematic universe.

It’s Not Just Playstation 5 – Three New Movies Screening That We Can’t See … Yet

Here’s an odd one that businesses usually try to avoid: demand without supply.

The opposite, supply without demand, is also undesirable.

The former is happening in the videogame sector due to extreme demand for the new Playstation 5 and Xbox consoles. Online scalping bots have added to the pain and scooped up available units only to resell at a profit.

There is no secondary legal scalping market for new movies. Supply isn’t really an issue — and yet kind of is, since the studios want to release these movies in theaters only, but with a limited number of theaters open it is creating areas where tickets can’t conveniently be bought. Where does this show up on the financial spreadsheet for studio revenue? Lost ticket sales due to unopened theaters, I guess, would be the data column.

A few times in 2020 new movies have been released in theaters open in some areas of the United States. The closest theater open near us is almost 250 miles away. Despite our love for the cinematic experience watching new movies that far away means we’ll have to wait. We need to see movies locally or if we’re on vacation within say a 50 mile radius to be practical.

Last week, Sony released the videogame movie Monster Hunter, this week on Christmas day, two new movies were released that are only available in theaters: Promising Young Woman and Tom Hanks in his first western called News of The World.

Since VOD isn’t an option — and even if it was — we’d probably only pay $20 to watch one of these three (I’d opt for Monster Hunter, but Kara probably would opt for Promising Young Woman), we’re not going to be watching and reviewing any of these until, at the earliest possibly, January 4, 2020 when theater reopen if these movies are still showing theatrically.

No reason to think they won’t be, but also no reason to believe our local government won’t push back the reopening date for movie theaters again, as they were supposed to be reopen on December 14, which would have allowed us to see all of these movies in theaters.

Demon Hunter is killing it in Japan and not screening in America yet. Bonus #4 movie!

There’s actually a fourth new movie in theaters we’d like to see that we did preview (see: FIRST LOOK: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba) That anime film based on a popular series is only showing outside the United States and it’s doing really well financially. I’m sure someday it will be made available to watch in America, but no date has been announced as of this writing.

It’s good to have new movies waiting, but it seems a little silly that there are moviegoers who want to see movies and they are not conveniently available. In the past I’ve complained about LIMITED releases this way. They show up in a few theaters, either independent, arthouse, or large cities only. This might be a way for a movie to test audiences in various areas around the country, in a world where there are a bunch of different ways to screen new movies conveniently, it is an archaic distribution procedure.

Meanwhile, Wonder Woman 1984 and Soul are two other new movies that were meant to be released in theaters originally. Wonder Woman 1984 of course controversially was made day and date available also on HBO Max and Disney chose to release Soul directly to Disney+. We have watched and reviewed both of those movies.

Of the four movies mentioned above, can you see any at theaters nearby in your area? Do you have any interest in seeing any of them? Or are you waiting for these movies to come to VOD or streaming?

Greek-Cypriot Cinebur Gets Creative with the Cinematic Experience, but is the Timing Right?

Not sure if Cinebur is a creative method of movie screenings in 2020 or just an alterate viewing method vs. traditional movie theaters.

Cinebur is an application like Airbnb, except instead of travellers looking for a place to stay, it is for moviegoers who are looking for film screenings. Unlike movie theatres, Cinebur does not have a specific physical location where events are hosted, but its screenings take place in all kinds of venues, from boutiques and hotels, to wineries, schools, art studios, and even local properties of people who want to host screenings for their communities. Depending on the venue, Cinebur offers its viewers cocktails, fine wine, ice-cream or even smoking if the hosts allow it, which give the audience a comfortable, luxurious, homely feeling, but within a social environment where they can share their emotions with the other people, just like in movie theatres.

Cinebur: The Greek-Cypriot Platform Changing The Way We Enjoy Cinema – Greek City Times

I’m familiar with AirBnB, which is for people who want to stay in someone’s house for the night like staying in a motel. I’ve been reading that during the pandemic this type of business has not been doing well, but don’t follow this industry close enough to confirm or deny. Stands to reason though.

So Cinebur let’s movie fans enjoy movies not at theaters, but at alternate locations. It would be more intriguing — but not viable in current times — if it went full in on the AirBnB model and let anybody with a killer theater system invite others to watch movies at their homes. But who would do this during the pandemic? Yeah, that’s the problem.

Instead, these are movie events shown in more public-oriented places and will include other services, similar to the dinner theaters like Cinebarre (see: Cinebarre Salem, Oregon First Experience Seeing Zombieland: Double Tap). We like the dinner and movie at a theater experience but am not sure about Cinebur trying to turn pretty much anywhere into a movie theater experience. I think it’s all a timing thing right now.

Then again, outside the United States right now this might be a good idea. What do you think? Would you want to go see a movie other than at a theater and at your own home (or with friends at their home)?

No, Taxpayers Should NOT Bail Out Cinemas, Sorry Patty Jenkins and Other Millionaire Hollywood Directors

The Wonder Woman director has a right to her wrong opinion

This is rich, and that’s a major play on words.

Patty Jenkins, someone who has done some outstanding work on films like Monster and Wonder Woman and awaits the now Christmas release of the 80s timeline sequel (see: Wonder Woman 1984 Delayed Again Until Christmas Day 2020, Dune still December 18), is joining many other Hollywood directors trying to encourage the government to bail out the cinemas.

Jenkins is among dozens of top Hollywood directors appealing to the U.S. government to provide a financial lifeline to cinemas. Without it, she warned, the century-old tradition of going to the movies could disappear from American culture.

‘Wonder Woman’ director warns movie-going could become extinct

No, no, no, no. A thousand more nos. Horrible idea.

Here’s the thing, the government are people. All of us. We’re the taxpayers and we pay the taxes. So anything the government does, probably through printing money it doesn’t have since we’re multiple dozen trillions in debt, becomes a further burden on US taxpayers.

This image was taken from March 2020: $2 trillion deal stimulus package receives bipartisan support, movie theater chains likely included

Now look at the current debt clock taken from seconds ago, showing an increase of almost $4 trillion dollars.

US Debt as of 10/8/2020 — rising fast

We’re huge fans of watching movies at the theater, having paid for and watched over 100 movies in theaters the last year (see 2019 watched in theaters and 2020) — despite the pandemic wiping out most of the last six months.

If it comes down to a taxpayer bailout for cinemas to keep them from going out of business, then my answer at this point is blunt, but practical and necessary: let them go out of business. That wouldn’t be some major catastrophic failure. It’s not like the ozone layer depleted and life on earth as we know it will die. I believe that other savvy business people will rise up and seize the cinema experience, making some new, different experience. That’s America.

The whining about us not getting any or as many big budget movies? So what! (see: $100+ Million Movie Budgets Are Stupid) Great movies have been created on very modest budgets by today’s standards. Hollywood elites threatening us from their million dollar mansions is neither compelling or convincing.

Movies will still be made. Good movies will still be financed and made. Hollywood doesn’t need taxpayer funding.

I am concerned about the tens of thousands of underpaid workers who can’t work in the cinema business while they remain closed. We should have had a second stimulus plan that would have helped these people directly, but our government is too possessed with arguing over who will be president the next four years to concern themselves with helping the unemployed.

Or maybe — and this is definitely just me thinking out loud — if there was a stimulus plan before the election, then it looks like the current government did their job, that would be helpful to the current political party in power. My guess is there will be a stimulus plan, miraculous as it will be passed not too long after the result of the presidential election. Just as the Supreme Court vacancy will be filled. Movie theaters will either reopen or die. Life will go on. An asteroid hasn’t struck the earth if Hollywood has to restructure the way it works.

Perspective in life isn’t something, it’s everything.

These are the things the political powers that be are consumed by, not movie theaters. Not the majority of unemployed taxpayers. Not the people. Not us.

That’s probably the source of what Jenkins and her director group are focusing on, but these people will get jobs in some other business sector and/or maybe work in the new cinemas that pop up if/when the big three theater chains go out of business. And if some of these directors lose their mansions and luxurious lifestyle, sorry. You earned those benefits off the backs of millions of middle and lower income people paying to see your movies for escapism and entertainment. If people can’t/won’t afford to go in as large numbers to finance your next mansion, again, sorry.

It’s not just a rich vs. middle income and poor discussion though. Going out of business — or severe disruption impacting business — happens sooner or later to virtually every type of business. The same could be said of taxi drivers being disrupted over Lyft and Uber and countless other businesses through time that have been disrupted due to changing times and business. This isn’t personal, it’s just the way it is.

Bailouts are a bad idea for the entertainment sector, period. A sector that may give many of us pleasure, but isn’t a necessity. It’s entertainment, people. Pleasure. That can and will be had in a variety of other places if it goes away — and just so it’s clear, I don’t believe it will ever completely go away.

Go back to working on your next project, Mrs. Jenkins. If we can afford it, we might be interested in that.

20+ The Willoughbys Reviews – Darkly Whimsical with Curious Animation

The Willoughbys ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Based on the 2008 novel by Lois Lowry, which I haven’t read the book, but have read an article that compares at least in style and substance to Lemony Snicket by the legendary Roald Dahl. I definitely detected a Dahlesq vibe in the off-kilter story.

Kris Pearn: When you look at the journey of a movie, there’s a lot of push and pull between design and story. Very early on, we [Pearn and production designer Kyle McQueen] knew we wanted to provide an illustrated world that gave the audience permission to enjoy the comedy of that film, even though there’s pretty diverse subject matter that we’re dealing with. One of the ideas was, “It can be the cat’s point of view.” And this idea spun into this notion of texturing the world in a way that feels handmade, and that handmade feeling collided with something I’m always really passionate about: 2D animation principles.

Netflix’s The Willoughbys director on the secrets you’d never notice – Polygon

Before we go further, if you want to see the movie, it is advised so you don’t have anything spoiled that you come back to this post. You can bookmark it or just perform a search on the title using the site search and easily return. Then you can read what others think of the movie and see how it matches up with your thoughts.

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …

Ricky Gervais as the voice of the cat narrator is well cast

A story with a cat as narrator makes sense and Gervais, a comedian who I just sort of get (not really a fan), is a spot-on match. Just the right hint of irony and sardonic wit.

What’s the deal with those pointy noses animation?

Are these kids from some sort of witch clan or something? Whenever I think of sharp pointed noses, I think of a witch’s black hat. Is the animation hinting at something witch-like for the Willoughbys?

Not saying I disliked the animation, but am curious.

The story was kinda dry and negative

Kids that want nothing to do with their parents stories are a tough sell for young kids especially. There are ineffective, clumsy, dumb parents stories, but outright totally unlikable parents is a bit traumatizing for children.

Put the movie on and our grandchildren wouldn’t get into it. Maybe it’s for older than 5 year old kids, but part of my barometer for animated movies that aren’t clearly targeted to adult audiences is seeing how children react to it. This one? No interest.

Reviews by Others

Here’s what others think of The Willoughbys:


  1. animationflix: “…feels like a hybrid between 3d and stop motion, a spectacular character design with yarn like reddish Willoughbys hair, breathtaking and beautiful animation and with the smoothness of 3d Pixar like animation.”
  2. But Why Tho? A Geek Community / Jason Flatt (7/10): “…is a decent movie with endearing characters and excellent messages. The narration gets annoying after a while and the animation, while technically well done only the non-Willoughby characters feel good to look at.”
  3. Cookie n Screen: “…a kind and crazy treat for cinema, proving that Netflix can produce award-winning animation as well as sugary, surprises too.”
  4. Doc / EYG / Embrace Your Geekness (4.25/5): “It did take awhile to get started, but once the film got going, I was engaged in what it was showing me.  A great voice cast, colorful animation and a clever written script made up for the predictable plot.  The Willoughbys is a fun time for a family.”
  5. Ed Sum / Otaku No Culture: “This film would not work if it was not for Ricky Gervais. He voices the cat and gives the purrfect narration to keep me interested about the Willoughby family’s plight. If it was not for him, I’d most likely give this movie a pass.”
  6. FunAddict / Rudra Chakrabarti: “The film is really great”
  7. Irfan Review Films: “might not be very original, its novelty comes through in the delivery and execution, owing to a witty screenplay that combines nimble wordplay with highly compressed, well-paced plotting.”
  8. Jesse Williams / Movie Metropolis: “It’s an ode to living in the here and now, and that you always have the power and independence to choose your own family. As soppy as it is, it’s well worth a watch.”
  9. Josh Martinez / Films With Josh: “…is a nice bowl of fun, which has some sour bits but comes together very well in the end.”
  10. Keya Padilla / Awkwardly Vain: “I encourage you all to watch this film, to share your experience with your family. And begin to think about new expectations in your life, do not let the past lead you anymore.”
  11. Kim / Movies & Tea: “The most eye-catching moment is the character designs and the color choices throughout that really give the whole film a fun experience overall.”
  12. Kim / Tranquil Dreams: “There’s clever dialogue, fun characters and some pretty great voice cast tossed into the mix. Its charming, clever and colorful: three things that I love in animated films. Totally recommend this one!”
  13. Mark Hobin / Fast Film Reviews (3.5/5): “I did slowly warm up to the film’s wacky approach.  Perhaps I was worn down by the movie’s admitted — albeit relentless — charm.  The creative silliness ultimately won me over.”
  14. screen-queens / Ferdosa Abdi: “…is a delightfully twisted sugar-coated tale that will have you laughing and in awe along to the very end.”
  15. Stephen Dow / staticandscreen: “The story, for all its weaknesses, taps into a secret fantasy of children. I imagine every child at some point has fantasized about the freedom that would come without parents and the adventures they could have.”
  16. stringy99 / shortfilmreviews: “…is unlikely to win awards for originality but it was, for me, a fun story with plenty of energy, colour and humour to whisk you along and if you’re looking for some lockdown family fun then this may fit the bill.”
  17. The Joker On The Sofa: “…it’s a decent movie, even if it sometimes feels a little disjointed.”

Not Recommended

  1. Bryce West / The Illuminerdi: “If you are a parent reading this review, I would definitely steer away from showing this film to their kids as I feel this movie encourages kids to make poor decisions and gives a muddled stance on what it means to be an orphan.”
  2. Jesse Revell Reviews (6/10): “Substance is traded off for decent animation in this Addams Family-esque family tromp”
  3. Keith Noakes / KeithLovesMovies (50%): “…an animated film that will distract younger audiences but its dull story whose humor and irritating characters will be testing.”
  4. Murdocal (3/5): “…there’s too much going on and it all happens too quickly. You can’t really sit back and enjoy the good bits because we’re skipping from bit to bit. It also means the overall emotional message gets lost a little.”
  5. Rachel’s Reviews (4/10): “…is not my style of humor. It’s too negative and cynical and that’s not who I am as a human. I love the animation but that’s not enough for a recommendation; however, if it looks like your cup of tea give it a shot. It’s only a click away! (But just watch Klaus instead!)”

Linked above and wondering what would be the cool thing to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good (I like reader and other blogger interaction). If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review. What comes around goes around and sharing is the ultimate “thank you!” on the internet.

Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quoting from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.

Happy movie watching!

After The Coronavirus Ends, 49% Poll Respondents Say They Won’t Immediately Return to Movie Theaters, “possibly never”

We can’t wait to fill these comfy recliners at the movie theater again … but some others disagree

Never say never.

Once the pandemic ends better than half polled said their attendance to movie theaters won’t change, but that’s not the troubling data in this poll.

The news for movie theaters was particularly grim, with 49% of respondents saying it would take “a few months” to “possibly never” for them to return, and 28% saying they will attend movie theaters less often once they’re safe. While 15% of respondents said they plan on going to the movies more often post-pandemic (and 58% said their attendance won’t change),

Coronavirus Pandemic Could Erode Movie Theater, Concert Turnout – Variety

Hey, it could be worse. 72% of sports fans polled say they aren’t coming back to stadiums until there is a coronavirus vaccine.

Back to the moviegoer poll. They’re saying the margin of error is ~3%, but I don’t buy how 1,000 people polled can be that accurate of the larger population.

Our behavior almost certainly will not. We’ll (hopefully, if still available) have our unlimited monthly movie passes reinstated (come to think of it, what if those are no longer available when the theaters reopen???) and return to watching all wide releases in the movie theater, as we were before this craziness began.

The S&P recently downgraded AMC’s rating and there is speculation they may never open again (I think that’s unlikely — somebody probably buys out the theaters at least — but the longer this drags on, the more leases won’t get renewed and theaters will continue to close).

If AMC is success in gaining financing through the CARES act, they may be able to keep their doors open. However, that will all depend on when everything is able to get back to some form of normalcy. For now, it doesn’t look good, which means everybody may have to stay indoors for a lot longer than expected.

AMC Theatres May Never Recover and Shut Down for Good – MOVIEWEB

How, if at all, will your behavior change once the movie theaters reopen?

What will you do when the movie theaters reopen? Will you attend more movies, less, or about the same amount? Will you go at different (perhaps less busier) times?

Delayed Screenings – Only 9 of 39 (23%) Wide Release Movies Coming to Movie Theaters (if they reopen) Through August 1, 2020

April 2020 movie releases … only Trolls World Tour on VOD and at scattered drive-in theaters

We all know the vast majority of movie theaters are currently closed. I took some time this morning to research and update the COMING SOON TO THEATERS in 2020 post and, yes, it’s a bummer reviewing the delayed screenings list.

Not trying to bum anyone out by sharing this, but it does show just how few theater movie wide releases remain over roughly the next 120 days. You can count them on your fingers.

If you look at the screenshots above and below by month all movie titles with a strikethru have been delayed and moved by the studios. There are notes afterwards if a new date is known.

If theaters open in May, there will only be *2* new wide movies as of this writing (4/11/2020) that open: The High Note (May 8) and Irresistible (May 29).

If theaters open in June, there will also be only *2* new wide release movies both scheduled to open on June 19: Soul the animated movie (moved to Nov 20, 2020) Fatale and King of Staten Island

But if somehow theaters don’t open until July 2020, then there will be *4* movies opening: The Forever Purge Movie (July 10), Tenet (July 17), Mulan (July 24, that was moved from March) and The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run (July 31 that was also moved from a previous date).

Here are the detailed screenshots by month, starting with May 2020:

June 2020 movie theater releases getting any better? No.

July is the heart of summer, surely that will be better, yes? No.

I stopped at August 1st, wanting to wait to let more time pass (and see if the theaters start opening in May), but rescheduled from July is Wonder Woman 1984 (August 24, 2020), so maybe there will be more titles dropping back in if theaters are open and re-established by then. If not, we can expect to see WW1984 pushed back again, as well as most if not everything mentioned above.

Some titles mentioned from April until the end of July 2020 might get picked up for streaming services over the next few months assuming the theaters remain closed.

Not sure what to do about the coming soon lists by month (May would already have been posted if theaters were open and June would be posted around this time) here until the theaters reopen. Doesn’t seem like a whole lot of value in posting a list of movies NOT coming soon to theaters when the theaters remain closed.

Bottom line: it’s Easter tomorrow and movie theaters will not be reopening the rest of this month, at least in Washington State where we’re at. We have a stay at home order in effect until May 4, 2020.

Thank goodness we have plenty of movie and TV watching options on streaming. And next month HBO Max will launch providing even more movies and TV shows.

If you’re a Comcast/Xfinity broadband subscriber (we are!), Peacock will be soft launching on April 15 (just around the corner from this post!). July 15 everybody else can subscribe to Peacock.

FIRST LOOK: Never Rarely Sometimes Always (VOD)

The number of new(er) releases hitting VOD is multiplying and growing. Check out the list above in red with 8 of 9 titles released on various streaming channels.

As for the “limited” theater releases that I’ve remarked before are (too often) difficult to locate, maybe when the pandemic passes, we’ll be in a world where “limited” means that it is simultaneously available on VOD, preferably at a reasonable rental price.

But back to Never Rarely Sometimes Always.

Eliza Hittman’s “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” won prizes in Sundance and Berlin before Focus Features released it in early March — days before theaters closed nationwide. The Universal subsidiary is now following a strategy it applied to movies like “The Invisible Man” and “The Hunt” by pushing “Never Rarely” into VOD on Friday.

How the Producers of Never Rarely Sometimes Always Made Peace With VOD | IndieWire

I vaguely remember this movie, and it wasn’t part of our Coming to theaters in March 2020 list, so it was probably showing as a limited release.

Our coming soon lists are so jacked up right now. April 2020 is a real mess with maybe two of the proposed 11 movies actually being released as planned. I don’t know what the story is with My Spy, that movie has moved around multiple times and it’s showing at MovieInsider as still being released (somehow) in April, but that is probably inaccurate and it’s been delayed or moved again.

Bottom line, it’s not a good time to be covering movies released in theaters, because there are almost none being released. Out of necessity, I’m spending more time on streaming movies & TV, plus news, opinion and research posts where the information won’t change tomorrow, next week or month.

When theaters open again, we’ll go back to regular programming.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always will be available on VOD April 3, 2020.

Independent Theaters Testing Virtual Screenings

Before you get super excited by the words “virtual theater” (like me), as some are billing it, the reality is it is essentially $12 VOD for movies that should be showing in independent theaters. If they weren’t closed.

The title to the theater shown above, “virtual screenings”, is more apt.

Though some “virtual theater” screenings began rolling out around March 20, the weekend of March 27 has the first full crop of movies available to watch, from slick noir to sardonic comedies to repertory titles from the 1970s to Oscar nominees. If you’re looking to see something new and exciting this weekend — and support independent theater at the same time — then here are 15 options available right now.

15 movies you can buy a “virtual ticket” to this weekend – Vox

The problem with this idea is it goes only part of the way. It’s not as virtual as even very dated tech currently currently allows.

What about an Oculus virtual reality app version of your theaters? Oculus/Facebook where are you right now? See: Watching Movies on Oculus Go

What these independent theater owners should be doing is personalizing the movie watching experience. How about scheduled watch-a-longs where a host has a chat during the virtual screening (see: 2nd Annual Halloween Mystery Movie Event Features 4 Shudder Movies)? Or maybe, the ability for a 3D virtual panoramic tour of your independent theater, choose your seat and then the movie plays, a la Second Life theaters.

Virtual Reality 3D Theaters emulate the social experience of the movie theater

The other part of this that is undesirable is the theater owners should already have been doing this. Waiting for the pandemic makes the “virtual screening” pitch seem — and probably is — desperate. If they were embracing virtual reality all along, including handicapped and disabled patrons who cannot as easily attend regular screenings, then this promotion of their virtual theater now would be more genuine and worthwhile. They would be supporting those moviegoers who wanted to come more often to their theater but weren’t as easily able to do so.

So, that’s why I think simply making movies available for VOD at $12 a rental and labeling them “virtual screening” just doesn’t go far enough.

I’m not a theater owner, but giving all of them this free advice: start investigating this tech and embracing it into your business ASAP. Make your patrons feel like the theater is still open, the lifeblood is there, the only thing missing are brand new wide release movies (and you should be plotting and planning to get those pictures screening — like Trolls World Tour that’s coming this Friday, yes, how about a Trolls World Tour viewing party?!).

Good business ideas are out there begging to be grabbed by the creative, the innovative, the wise. Those independent theater owners have a chance at surviving the pandemic.

The virtual playbook already exists. This might be one time where forced social distancing promotes virtual reality as an opportunity it’s never experienced before.

Virtual Screenings – what do YOU think?

Would/will you support your local independent theater through virtual screenings? Or do you, like me, think $12 (or so) VOD rentals, even when the theater gets to keep a meatier chunk of the ticket sale, isn’t quite enough in 2020?

One Big Reason Why Movie Theaters Will Be OK Compared To Streaming

Amazon Originals section as of March 2020 … nothing promoting what’s coming soon

As moviegoers continue to wait for theaters to reopen, I’ve been thinking about something that streaming doesn’t do as well as movie theaters.

Scratch that. I’m being too kind. Movie and TV originals on streaming promotion is convoluted, largely absent and/or confusing.

Let’s take new wide release movies. If you want to watch a new movie that is advertised chances are better than good you’ll find it at many different movie theaters near where you live. Whether or not we like the 20 minutes of trailers before the new movie plays, it’s a captive promotional vehicle that succeeds in catching our interest in upcoming titles. The more times we see these trailers, the more anticipation builds (or wanes if the trailer sucks).

I could argue that non-wide releases are very similar to what happens to older movies. Those you missed in the theater that enter the complicated licensing morass world of streaming.

Where does the movie end up after its theatrical run? You can pay (too much) in the VOD market buying the streaming or physical media. But what if you don’t want to do that? What if you just want to view it on the streaming channels you’re paying for already without paying an additional rental fee?

Good luck!

HBO, a premium subscription channel, gets a lot of new movies first, but, again, only certain licensed movies. Before HBO, you might catch the movie on an airplane or in a hotel room playing on the “still in theaters” or “just left theaters” movie rotation. After that, it’s the premium channels maybe. After that, maybe Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu or ____, see, it’s confusing.

We would like to see the movie on a streaming channel we’re already paying for, so how can this be done? I don’t want to go into Sherlock Holmes mode looking for where a movie will stream and when.

The new movie coming soon promotion model just works better in movie theaters than it does at home. Go see it at the movie theater and you actually, really have a good chance of seeing it. Once it leaves the movie theater, you can maybe still catch it on VOD or buy the blu-ray, but after that … it’s anybody’s guess when and where it will appear on streaming.

Maybe the studios want it this way so that you have to buy the physical media and/or digital copy? The problem is who wants to buy something that may have zero rewatchability? Yes, you can pay the $3.99-$6.99 rental fee and see what you think. If you love it, then you can pay another $10-20 to buy it.

Maybe the rentals should discount the purchase price? That might make paying $3.99-6.99 more attractive as a rental. I think part of why Redbox took off so well is the convenience (big red boxes in easy to locate areas) and inexpensive rental fees. $1-2 is the sweet spot for rentals. I’d rent more if the price was $1-2. At $4-7, I’m thinking about just waiting for it to appear on the streaming channels I’m already paying for monthly subscriptions.

How many other movie watchers think like this?

Original Movies and TV Shows on Streaming

Now, let’s look at new original movies on streaming. Amazon Prime originals, Netflix Originals, Hulu Originals, Disney+, HBO MAX, Peacock, Apple TV+ and the list goes on. There are too many different places for even someone like me who wants to follow new movies.

I’ll give you a perfect example. Anthology shows. Love them! Some readers know The Twilight Zone (classic) is my favorite. I recently learned Amazon Prime has a new one coming out called Tales from the Loop on April 3 (see: FIRST LOOK: Tales From The Loop (TV Series) – Amazon). Probably wouldn’t have known about this had I not stumbled upon a random article about it from TALES FROM THE LOOP IS AN EMOTIONAL SCI-FI BINGE FOR A HOPELESS TIME.

Why don’t we see advertising for this on Amazon Prime? Why doesn’t the Amazon Prime interface show me what’s coming soon in their “Originals” area? Instead, all we see is what they already have. Take a look at the screenshot at the top of this post. Nothing about what’s coming soon. April 3 is this week away and a new anthology TV series is coming out and there is nothing promoting it on their own channel!

This doesn’t happen with new wide release movies. We get trailers, articles, advance discussion and then the movie is out and we can go see it from local theaters. In the streaming world, even when we’re subscribed to channels, we too often don’t have this organized promotion.

Netflix is better about promoting their original content. They do have an area on the side of the interface entitled “coming soon” and you can see what’s coming and when. Kudos to them for being one of the few that actively promotes their new, original shows. They also make trailers for some of their new movies. Just recently, we were able to make FIRST LOOK for two Netflix Original movies coming in April 2020. Yay! This is promising. I wish everybody making new movies and TV shows would do this.

Help us out here. Those of us with movie and TV blogs. Make it easier to know when you have something original and new coming out. Throw us a bigger bone so we can get excited and write about it and spread the awareness to others.

Maybe they already are and I’m just not digging around in the right search keywords and subsections of streaming websites. Ask yourself, though, if someone who follows this information, who wants to write about this is having difficulty how are you going to get the attention of someone who just enjoys watching?

Until streaming finds a better way to organize and unite promoting their original projects — and yes, they could get better about this someday — movie theaters have little to worry about with moviegoers. We’ll go to the theater where we know when we can see it. Yeah, we’ll pay more than we should for the concessions, but won’t have to wait for the pricier rental in 60-90 days or buy something that we may not even have liked watching the first time to collect digital or real dust.

This is the big reason movie theaters need not worry about current day streaming. It’s possible streaming improves and organizes their marketing and promotional efforts. Until then, however, if you want to see what’s new, you go to the theaters or wait for the physical media and/or VOD rental. Beyond that, it’s anybody’s guess when and where it will come out.

How do you track movies you’d like to see showing up on streaming channels? Do you use services like JustWatch to track them down? Do you wait them out for VOD, premium and then hope they show up on Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, etc (see: Why Some Movies Are Impossible To Find Online)? What is your strategy for tracking down where to watch them?