Kamau Bell: Chinatown is as American as fireworks
W. Kamau Bell is a sociopolitical comedian and the author of the new book, "The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6’4", African-American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and …
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Netflix is making more mediocre dramas than ever, and its best series aren’t as good as they used to be.
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This year’s Cannes Film Festival came to end a few days ago, but ripple effects from events that transpired there will be felt on the French fest in the years to come. You may have heard about the controversy that arose surrounding Netflix’s involvement there, and today Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has spoken more about what went down.
You might have also noticed that the streaming service is notorious for being generous with second season renewals for their original series, but Hastings mentioned today that he’d actually like to cancel more of their original shows. Yes, you read that correctly.
Read on for the latest on the Netflix Cannes controversy and to learn what Hastings meant by that cancelation comment.
Cannes Controversy Recap
Bong Joon-ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories, two Netflix original movies, were accepted into this year’s Cannes festival. Netflix, which will always be a streaming platform over anything else, wants its original films to be available for streaming when they debut. But theater exhibitors often demand an exclusive theatrical release window in which those movies would be available in traditional theaters before they’re available to stream at home.
France in particular has a rule that states movies that play in theaters must wait three years before they can pop up on a streaming platform. But Netflix wouldn’t give Okja or The Meyerowitz Stories theatrical distribution before their streaming release dates (outside of the festival, that is), so France established a new rule that states only films with French distribution will be able to screen in competition for future festivals. You can read much more about that here.
Hastings’ New Comments
Today, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings spoke at Recodes Code Conference and was basically asked what the heck happened. According to The Verge, Hastings explained that the National Federation of French Cinemas attempted to throw their weight around and things got ugly:
“They got the festival director to threaten to pull us out, which got a bunch of press. He kept us in because artistic integrity should be the trumping principle. It was very messy … Sometimes the establishment is clumsy when it tries to shut out the insurgent, and then the insurgent’s role is to play that up, which we did.”
All in all, though Hastings looks back on the experience as a good thing because it generated so much press, which he thinks will benefit both of his films that were at the festival:
“We don’t really want to fight with anyone… [When] someone picks a fight with us, it brings [us] attention, [and] it’s fantastic for us. Most importantly it’s fantastic for Okja and Meyerowitz Stories… they’ll get a lot more awareness.”
Wait a Second, He Wants to Cancel More Shows?
Netflix has only canceled six of its original series so far: Lilyhammer, Hemlock Grove, Marco Polo, The Get Down, Sense8, and Bloodline, with the latter’s cancelation stemming from a new tax law in Florida (where the show filmed) that made it no longer financially viable. Hastings and his team spent $6 billion (with a “b”) on original content this year, and he mentioned that they’ll soon be increasing that budget by “a lot,” so why would he want to cancel more shows? It turns out it’s because they’re currently too successful. Here’s Vulture with some more quotes:
“Our hit ratio is way too high right now,” Hastings said. “So, we’ve canceled very few shows … I’m always pushing the content team: We have to take more risk; you have to try more crazy things. Because we should have a higher cancel rate overall.” It’s not that Hastings wants Netflix to purposely make shows that are unsuccessful, though. His logic: By taking big swings, “you get some winners that are just unbelievable winners, like 13 Reasons Why. It surprised us. It’s a great show, but we didn’t realize just how it would catch on.”
One could argue that a show’s surprising success shouldn’t necessarily guarantee a second season if there’s not enough story to be told in one, which is a complaint I’ve seen a lot about 13 Reasons Why in particular. But overall, it’s tough to argue with Hastings’ logic. “If anything, what I push our content team on is you should have more things that don’t work out. You gotta get more aggressive,” he said. “The drive towards conformity as you grow as a company is very substantial.” As someone who loves watching studios and filmmakers take big swings (see: David Lynch’s revival of Twin Peaks), I encourage Netflix to keep avoiding conformity as much as possible.
The post Netflix CEO on Cannes Controversy and Wanting to Cancel More Shows appeared first on /Film.
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‘Sense8’ Canceled at Netflix
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Threat of writers’ strike hovers over Hollywood
In true Hollywood fashion, the threat of a strike by the Writers Guild of America against the major studios looks like it’s going to be a cliffhanger. The writers and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers issued a brief statement late …
With a Hollywood Writers’ Strike Looming, Here’s What to KnowNew York Times
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It’s been a few years since writer/producer David S. Goyer set out to make Krypton, a television series for SyFy that follows the grandfather of Kal-El (better known as Clark Kent, and even better known as Superman) a few centuries before his planet is destroyed. You know, as seen/referenced in just about every Superman movie. It’s been a little while since we’ve heard any major updates about the show, but now a trailer has arrived, giving us a look at what appears to be a very ambitious television show…and one that looks to be very much set in the DC Extended Universe.
The parade of surnames that should prove familiar to DC comic book fans begins with Cameron Cuffe as Seg-El, Superman’s grandfather, presented here as a young and handsome (in that The CW-ish way) scientist/spy/adventurer/politician/whatever the show probably needs him to be. He’s in a relationship with Georgina Campbell‘s Lyta Zod, whose last name tells you that she’s probably up to no good. Game of Thrones veteran Ian McElhinney is on hand as Val-El, Seg’s grandfather.
And here’s the trailer, which looks very slick and looks to be very much set on the Krypton established in the prologue of Man of Steel.
While I have mixed opinions on the overall quality of the DCEU, the early Man of Steel sequences set on Krypton are my favorites scenes in a movie I really do enjoy. The blend of science fiction and gonzo fantasy is a far cry from the pristine and shiny alien world of Richard Donner’s Superman and I vividly recall saying that I would love a prequel film following Russell Crowe’s Jor-El. Well, this series is now here to put my money where my mouth is.
It’s too early to tell if this show will be good or not, but it certainly looks handsomely made, with production qualities that appear to edge out the other DC comic book shows seen on The CW and Fox. Of course, the best of those shows have won their fans through colorful storytelling and likable characters, elements that a 90 second trailer can never really get across. At its best, I can imagine this series tapping into the same fandom that has embraced Game of Thrones and Battlestar Galactica.
Krypton doesn’t have a release date yet (and SyFy has not to order a complete first season), but we should get our first look at it at some point this year.
The post ‘Krypton’ Trailer: Superman’s Granddaddy Gets His Own SyFy Series appeared first on /Film.
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