Film Check

Film History, Opinions, and Industry Roundups

Category: Opinion

Why Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming services are rejuvenating creativity.

        It is an understatement to say that there are a lot of streaming services. HBO Max was released last May, and NBC just dropped Peacock this past week. I agree that there are too many streaming services. While each streaming service aims for a particular demographic, I do find many of these services quite unnecessary. However, I believe that streaming services can be quite beneficial for both promoting creativity and exposing new films to people.

        To begin, let’s talk about exactly how streaming services promote creativity. Since there is a wide market of streaming services, they have to stand out in order to survive. Why would I sign up for Amazon Prime if I have Netflix? And vice-versa. One of the reasons why Netflix has been greenlighting so many scripts is to stand out. Maybe you want to sign up for Netflix because of Stranger Things or maybe it is because you want to watch The Irishman. In the second quarter of 2018, Netflix lost 123,000 subscribers, which was the first time since 2011 that they reported a loss. However, when Stranger Things Season 3 was released, it added 520,000 new accounts for the next quarter. It is clear that when streaming services like Netflix and others promote and create new original content, it is quite beneficial for both the platform and the consumers. It should also be stated that Netflix greenlights new projects, not just to attract customers, but to fill their declining catalog. Many shows that were popular on Netflix, like Friends, have been disappearing and moving to other streaming services like HBO Max. Netflix is forced to create new original content in order to survive in this market.

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My optimism towards reboots, remakes, and sequels

       Reboots, remakes, and sequels are a common trend in Hollywood right now, which has many people angry. People are mad for two main reasons: one being that their favorite franchises are being rebooted and the other for the lack of creativity. The latter reason is quite understandable. Why would Hollywood remake something that has already been done? Why not make something new? The simple answer is because of money. Remaking a film especially one with name-recognition, like The Murder on the Orient Express, is a sure-fire way of bringing in money. While a film like The Murder on the Orient Express brought in millions, not every remake is a guaranteed success. When Paramount and MGM remade Ben-Hur in 2016, it only made 94 million dollars on a budget of 100 million dollars. While people may not like remakes, reboots, and sequels, I do not mind them. In fact, I am usually optimistic about their success. I believe that many reboots, remakes, and sequels improved on their original material and, in many cases, were far superior to their predecessor.

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Living Up to Expectations: Watching Classic Films for the First Time

      When I was studying to become an English major, I was taught many theories on how to analyze texts and films. One of these theories was “close reading” which required the reader to look at the text and nothing more. Close reading prohibited any outside information like events that happened when the book was published or even the life of the author. I primarily disliked close reading due to its exclusion of outside knowledge. I believe outside information can help improve one’s experience reading a book or watching a film. When I read The Bell Jar, my knowledge of Sylvia Plath granted me a unique perspective of the book. However, I was never afforded the opportunity to read The Bell Jar isolated. Maybe, if I read the book without knowing about Plath, I could have enjoyed it even more. My experience with The Bell Jar was similar to my experience watching classic films for the first time. I recently watched Casablanca, and, like The Bell Jar, I was never afforded the opportunity to experience it without any outside information. I knew that Casablanca was considered to be one of the greatest films of all time when I started to watch it. But did it live up to my expectation? Somewhat.

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The problem with modern day film criticism (and why I like Ebert)

         Saying that I love film is quite an understatement. After all, I created this blog just to talk about films. I also love the fact that other people are able to create their own film blog and share their thoughts about films too. Because of the online film community, I have been introduced to so many great films. However, while there are great film critics and communities out there, I do have a few problems with some modern-day film criticism. While I am not trying to paint a picture that all film reviewers and communities are bad, but I have noticed a rising trend in film criticism that I would like to address.

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Why Theaters Might Survive

       There have been a lot of discussions recently about the future of movie theaters. Questions surrounding the longevity of theaters have been asked mainly due to the rise of streaming services. Now, with AMC announcement of a net loss between $2.12 and $2.42 billion for this past quarter, the future seems quite bleak for theaters. While I am no expert on business, I do believe that theaters will survive.

        First of all, Hollywood, especially directors, won’t let theaters go under. When Kodak went under, directors like JJ. Abrams and Christopher Nolan convinced Hollywood studios to help bail out Kodak. Furthermore, many directors like Nolan and Steven Spielberg believe in classic Hollywood techniques and traditions. This means shooting movies on celluloid and making films specifically for the big screen. These directors would never think about making a film that would skip the theater and go straight to streaming. Spielberg even said that “I want to see the survival of movie theaters. I want the theatrical experience to remain relevant in our culture.” Lastly, with the overturning of the paramount decree which prevented studios from owning theaters, many theaters can now be bought by studios.

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HBO Max and why it poses a threat

          Nowadays, it seems like streaming services are appearing everywhere. Disney released its service late last year and NBC is planning to release its service, called Peacock, this July. All these services range in quality, content, and especially price. Peacock is offering two versions of their service; a premium version and a free ad-based version. However, free members are not allowed access to the full NBC catalog. Disney’s service, which is called Disney Plus, offers Disney’s complete catalog including all the Marvel and Pixar films. Furthermore, their acquisition of Fox means Fox’s properties are on Disney Plus as well. The question now is whether HBO Max poses a threat to these streaming services.

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