LESSON #1: COOK YOUR OWN NUMBERS TO GET THE DATA YOU WANT— Judging by that lesson title? No, I promise this isn’t about hospital COVID-19 virus stats going through The White House instead of the CDC, but one makes you wonder. Anyhow, Netflix recently updated its all-time Top 10 list of “most watched” movies. Leading the way was April’s Extraction reported in 99 million households with the new The Old Guard impressively debuting in sixth with 72 million. It makes you wonder if these movies had a crack at the actual box office, because even a buck a household is a nice rake. Imagine $10 per household. Shout out to Feelin’ Film Facebook Discussion Group member and Canadian hero Dave Courntey on these follow-up questions. What constitutes “watched?” Is it a click? Two minutes? The whole movie? It should be the latter. Who’s cooking this Netflix report? Kind of like our Commander-in-Chief, pass me the side eye and a tin foil hat.
LESSON #2: WE’RE ALL GOING TO NEED MUCH MORE PATIENCE— Between the first lesson and this second one, this is where I’ll go back to trusting industry analysts. A new report on The Hollywood Reporter interviewed Cowen analyst Doug Creutz and looked at the outlook of movie theaters. The gut punch quote for me was “We now expect domestic theaters to be largely closed until mid-2021, in part because we don’t think studios will be interested in releasing their largest movies into a capacity-constrained footprint.” That’s saying something, and that’s coming from a Disney arm too. For them to admit that is very telling.
LESSON #3: PREDICTIONS ARE FASCINATING THINGS TO FOLLOW— If the studies of analysts are too stuffy for you, listen to these artist opinions from a recent Washington Post piece that interviewed five writers and actors: Thor: Ragnarok screenwriter Stephany Folsom, X-Men: First Class screenwriter Zack Stenz, prolific actress/host Aisha Tyler, Happy Endings actor Adam Pally, and actor/comedian Paul Scheer. The semi-Chicken Little hyperbole of “change Hollywood forever” is sure there in the article’s title, but their collective ideas are highly intriguing. They include predicting the comeback of paranoid thrillers, body horror, a turn of weird pop culture, the influx of new talent that can work to this new industry environment, and the need to reassure anxieties, especially with children. They are fascinating and fresh takes. What does your internal crystal ball think about all of this time and the societal effect that will trickle into art?
DON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based and Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson. His movie review work is also published on 25YL (25 Years Later) and also on Medium.com for the MovieTime Guru publication. As an educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical. He is a proud director and one of the founders of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle and a member of the nationally-recognized Online Film Critics Society. As a contributor here on Feelin’ Film now for over two years, he’s going to expand those lessons to current movie news and trends while chipping in with guest spots and co-hosting duties, including the previous “Connecting with Classics” podcasts. Find “Every Movie Has a Lesson” on Facebook, Twitter, and Medium to follow his work. (#137)