Nov 5, 2019

Old Hollywood takes on streaming services' new reality

Expand chart
Data: PricewaterhouseCoopers; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Legendary Hollywood filmmaker Martin Scorcese is clearing up controversial comments he made last month that Disney's Marvel movies are "not cinema" and instead are akin to theme park rides.

Why it matters: Scorcese's comments reflect a greater sentiment of old-guard Hollywood pushing back against the franchising of action films and the greater digitization of movies in today's cinema landscape.

  • Earlier this year, Steven Spielberg suggested a rules change that would disqualify movies from Oscars consideration that debut on streaming services or only appear in a short theatrical window.

Driving the news: In an op-ed in The New York Times yesterday, Scorcese argued that with Marvel movies, there's "nothing at risk" and no "revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger."

  • "They are sequels in name but they are remakes in spirit," he writes.
  • Disney Chairman Bob Iger said not too shortly before the release of Scorcese's statements, "Anyone who has seen a Marvel film could not in all truth make that statement."

The big picture: The comments come as more digital Hollywood firms, like Netflix, push the boundaries of how soon they can release their Oscar hopeful films on their own digital platforms after first releasing them in theaters, to be eligible for awards.

  • Most recently, Netflix agreed to a month-long theatrical release of its new hit "The Irishman," directed by Scorcese, but theater owners argue that it wasn't a long enough moment of exclusivity for them.

The bottom line: The economics don't mode well for the theater chains, but they aren't miserable either. U.S. cinema revenue continues to plateau as ticket prices increase, suggesting that theater-viewing isn't dead yet. Digital movie-viewing, however, continues to skyrocket.

Go deeper: Hollywood's cave to China on censorship

Go deeper

Netflix to reopen New York's historic Paris Theater in bid for Oscar qualification

Data: Motion Picture Association of America and Macrotrends; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Netflix confirmed Monday that it would reopen the historic Paris Theater in Manhattan through an extended leasing deal.

The state of play: The news was first reported by Deadline, which also reported last week that the deal to keep the last remaining single-screen theater in Manhattan open was a 10-year agreement.

Go deeperArrowNov 26, 2019

Disney+ officially launches to define Bob Iger's legacy

Photo: Disney

Disney+, the company's streaming service, officially launched Tuesday in the U.S., Canada, and The Netherlands.

Why it matters: The service will be the flagship product to define the career of Disney CEO Bob Iger. On an earnings call last week, Iger called the launch "one of our most ambitious initiatives to-date."

Go deeperArrowNov 12, 2019

Disney remains box office champion of animated films with Frozen 2


After a record-breaking holiday weekend box office haul with Frozen 2, Disney is poised to win the box office yet again this year, and with it, remain the box office champion of animated films.

Why it matters: Rival streaming chiefs have talked openly about expanding their animation studios to compete with Disney, or to help lure families to their services.

Go deeperArrowDec 3, 2019