Film Industry Update #4
After Bungle Of Hastings, Netflix Stock Looks Like A Double By: Ivonnie DulceForbes
A month has passed since Netflix announced their decision to split the company into two separate entities. Netflix would continue to control online streaming of media content whereas Qwikster would control DVD distribution, with the inclusion of video game rentals. Earlier last week, Netflix announced that they are going to abandon Qwikster. According to the Forbes article, “…it highlights that the company is probably not thinking through its moves thoroughly enough.” The article also emphasized that the company is attempting to mend its relationship with their customers after recent catastrophic decisions made by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. This is a prime example of the power of the audience and how companies are significantly affected by poor management. When companies choose to adjust their terms without consulting their customers it can result in disaster (in Netflix’s case $9-10 billion dollar deficit). However, Netflix is still ahead of its competitors such as Blockbuster and Amazon but the company cannot risk allowing such mistakes to happen in the future.
It is interesting to note that international expansion is assisting the film industry by making up for the lack of revenue coming from the audience of the United States. In contrast Netflix struggles to effectively utilize the possibilities of a global market. In an arena where online streaming and piracy are gaining popularity, a higher degree of difficulty arises in maintaining a solid corporation solely based on the internet.

Universal's Tower Heist Fiasco
By: Morgan Denno
LA TimesLA Times 2


The upcoming, star-studded release of Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy's comedy "Tower Heist" was the first to test out a new movie release system. Well known director Brett Ratner hasn't directed a full length feature since his 2007 release of Rush Hour 3 and Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy's more recent works have involved a more family friendly approach with talking dinosaurs and donkeys. It seems as if Universal Pictures might've been anticipating these stars to bring a wide and loyal audience to the film and because of the large and varied audience, they decided to launch an experimental release strategy. Set to release in early November, the studio planned to release Heist "On Demand" for television viewers a mere 3 weeks after the movie was released in theaters (for a steep price of $60). National theater chains Cinemark and National Amusements banned the movie immediately, seemingly outraged at the early release for TV and Universal dropped the plans for the unique release after threats of even more companies threatening to ban as well. Though the film industry has sped up the release of DVD's in recent years, it appears that the real "slap in the face" move comes from the move to TV and charging higher prices.

Sony targets 'Assassin's Creed' for bigscreen
Posted By: Andrea Jimenez

Ubisoft, the French game-making company, has decided that it wants its most popular video game, Assassin's Creed, out in the film market and Sony pictures has closed in on a deal with the company to "develop a film franchise based on the popular videogame series". Ubisoft is looking to expand its consumers by adapting their popular videogames into television shows and big screen movies that are based off the games. Ubisoft's first television project is an animated TV show that will air on Nickelodeon based from their videogame "Raving Rabbids". The "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" was a Ubisoft videogame that was produced into a movie in 2010 by Disney but unfortunately did not receive the ratings nor revenue they expected. Other studios such as Universal were competing for the project but "Ubisoft wants to maintain more creative control over the development of its games for other platforms rather than broker traditional one-off licensing deals with studios" and it seems like Sony was the most compliant to those terms.

Why Australia is the Place to Film By: Lola SmithHollywood Reporter
Apparently there has been a boom from down-under. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Australia is the hotspot to make movies these days. With films such as Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby (2012), Happy Feet Two (2011), and Frankstein (2013) being filmed in places such as Sydney and the good ol' outback, one might ask, "Why Australia?" The answer is: Incentives. Australia's location incentives have have increased to a 16.5 percent rebate, postproduction, digital and visual effects (PDV) incentive recently have doubled to 30 percent, and producer offset incentives offer a 40 percent rebate. What does this mean? It means super expensive films aren't as expensive to make since they're helping out Australia's economy. It means the quality and diversity of productions are boosted and there are more talented Australian actors given the chance to shine. It also means The Great Gatsby''s 120 million dollar budget (after incentives) will gain 40 million back just for being shot in a 1920's-Long-Island-lookin' Australia. Incentives aside, the biggest test is to see how these big budget Australian films hold up in the box office. Remember Baz Luhrmann's Australia? Neither do I.

Imax to Open Digital Theatre in Central Africa
by: Alisa Hemmesch
Hollywood Reporter
Blue Sky World Entertainment, a European media investor, is opening an Imax theatre in Nairobi, Kenya. The venue is set to open by March 2012. Blue Sky World invests in film, media, and marketing companies in Europe and Africa. It also has investments in Austria and Latvia. This will be the first Imax theatre to open in central Africa and follows two theaters that had been opened in South Africa. These venues, however, were closed in 2010. It is interesting to witness the spread of huge film technologies in a country where, to some, simply seeing a film is unimaginable. Hopefully the advancements in technology and growth of innovation will continue to spread throughout the continent so that, some day, a new Imax opening would not be far from the norm.

Netflix's Reed Hasting Hasn't Considered Stepping Down, 'Not for A Second'
by: Colleen Bordon
Hollywood Reporter

external image 94940691_a_p.jpg
Netflix's CEO Reed Hasting apologizes again for the company's missteps and declares that the company will do better. Interestingly enough when asked if splitting the company into two was an arrogant move, he replied: "No, I think it was just a mistake in underestimating the depth of emotional attachment to Netflix."
He makes it clear that it is not in his intention to put the other online streaming services such as Blockbuster out of business, as well as HBO. Netflix has been faced with direct competition with HBO, Starz and Showtime for the original series "House of Cards." Hasting states "we do compete for viewers’ time, for dollars and content, but they’re larger and certainly the incumbent."