Japan has recorded far fewer confirmed coronavirus infections than its regional neighbors, but box office in the country has taken a dive and major entertainment facilities like Tokyo Disneyland remain closed.
HBO Max's upcoming crime thriller Tokyo Vice has joined the growing list of major Hollywood productions to hit pause in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The series, helmed by four-time Oscar nominee Michael Mann, had been shooting on location in Tokyo since March 5. Although conditions in Japan have not deteriorated to the same extent as in Europe or the U.S. — cinemas, restaurants and bars remain open there, for example — WarnerMedia has opted to error on the side of caution and suspend shooting for an undetermined period, a source working on the show tells The Hollywood Reporter.
The series is loosely inspired by American journalist Jake Adelstein's 2009 memoir, Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan, which chronicles his time spent covering organized crime for the Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Japan's largest newspapers. Adelstein was the first Westerner to work the crime beat for the paper and spent 12 years there.
Tokyo Vice stars Ansel Elgort Baby Driver as the American journalist, Ken Watanabe as a Tokyo police detective and Rinko Kikuchi Babel as a Japanese journalist.
Mann is directing the 10-episode series pilot and will serve as an executive producer. John Lesher Birdman, Black Mass, Emily Gerson Saines Temple Grandin, Watanabe and Elgort also executive produce. Endeavor Content is serving as the studio.
Tokyo Vice follows scores of other big productions that have gone on hiatus around the world over the past week, including Amazon's mega-budget Lord of the Rings series, Disney's Avatar sequels, Netflix's The Witcher, Marvel's Shang-Chi, and many more.
To date, Japan has seen just 834 confirmed coronavirus infections, not including the roughly 700 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Yokohama. The country's rate of testing for the virus is far behind its regional neighbors, however.
Japan has tested just 66 people per million residents, compared to 3,692 people per million in South Korea and 2,820 per million in China. Japan has recorded 27 deaths, for a mortality rate of 3.2 percent — significantly higher than the averages in other parts of Asia where the virus has been contained. Critics of Japan's response have argued that the somewhat higher death rate shows that testing in the country is inadequate.
Although Japan's public transport systems and many aspects of daily life remain undisturbed by the outbreak, in late February the government closed schools and requested that all large-scale events and activities be postpone. The Tokyo Disney Resort and Universal Studios in Osaka both have closed their doors until at...
With large swathes of the population sitting at home, audiences have a chance to catch up on films that were released years ago and find new insights into their narrative. Recently, a fan who had been watching Suicide Squad with his family reached out to the film's director David Ayer to ask about the meaning behind the scene where the Joker is lying in the middle of a room lined with a circle of knives, guns, and baby clothes. Denying that the baby onesies were trophies after an infanticide spree on the part of the cackling psychopath, Ayer provided the following explanation for the scene instead.'No it's more innocent. Harley wanted a normal family with Joker hence the baby in her vision. I figured she would have endlessly pestered Mr. J about having a kid. So he had Mr. Frost buy some onesies. The circle represents how he sees Harley.'
The scene under discussion comes up early in the story. Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie, is locked up in Arkham, and we see Joker, played by Jared Leto, in his mansion mourning her absence. He has also shown to have drawn a grin across his face using a sharpie, which according to David Ayer, is because...'He was having a hard time smiling without Harley so gave himself some help with a sharpie.'
This introduction sets up the fact that this Joker is unlike any other live-action portrayal of the supervillain as a man who is missing his demon lover. The onesies we see lined up on the floor next to the Joker later make an appearance in the scene where the Enchantress offers Harley her heart's desire, and she imagines a life of domestic bliss with her beloved Mistah J, with their babies wearing the onesies.
How the circle of knives represents Harley in the mind of the Joker is up for debate. Perhaps he fears that his affection for Harley makes her dangerous to him, and thus views her as a circle of knives drawing closer, threatening to destroy him.
This sentiment of Joker being attracted towards Harley and simultaneously hating the fact that she has made him care for her is also played out in the scene where Harley willingly throws herself into a pit of acid on Joker's command. After trying to walk away from the whole thing, Joker almost unwillingly jumps in after her and rescues her, proving that she means more to him than he can bring himself to admit.
From his explanation, it is clear that Ayer had a solid backstory and reasoning behind the script for Suicide Squad, which unfortunately did not translate very well to the big screen. But now that James Gunn has taken over directorial duties on the sequel, there is a chance to see a Suicide Squad film that gets critical acclaim in addition to minting money at the box office. David Ayer on Twitter brings us this news.
At least 300,000 individuals downloaded Quibi, the entertainment industry's newest streaming service, on its Monday launch date according to data from two analytics firms.
Sensor Tower reported that more than 300,000 users downloaded the mobile-only, short form platform while App Annie estimated 700,000 users downloaded Quibi on Monday. The numbers were originally reported by Variety and the Los Angeles Times, respectively. IndieWire confirmed the data with both analytics firms.
The sharply varying numbers make it difficult to determine how much traction Quibi gained on its launch day and exemplifies the difficulty of determining how successful streaming services are. While Nielsen's ratings have long been the voice of authority for television viewership, there is no standard of measurement for the industry's numerous streaming services.
A Quibi spokesperson referred IndieWire to the Los Angeles Times report and did not release its own data on downloads.
“We are very excited about our day one performance,” Quibi said in a statement.
While it's unclear which data set is accurate, that at least 300,000 users downloaded the “quick bites” streaming service suggest that Quibi turned more than a few heads on Monday. The platform launched with dozens of original titles — Quibi offers no library content — and boasts significant star power. A wide variety of household names, from Cardi B and Chance the Rapper to Idris Elba, Will Forte, and Kaitlin Olson, star in various Quibi series, and entertainment industry heavyweights such as Steven Spielberg and Steven Soderbergh are working on upcoming projects for the platform.
While hundreds of thousands of users have downloaded the app, only time will tell if they stick around long enough to make the $1.75 billion-backed platform a success. Quibi is offering a lengthy 90-day free trial, which no doubt helped court early adopters, and a yearlong subscription is available for free to select T-Mobile customers. An ad-supported version of Quibi costs $4.99 per month, while the ad-free version runs $7.99 per month.
IndieWire praised a handful of Quibi's launch titles, including LeBron James’ documentary “I Promise” and the noire-inspired “Movie in Chapters.” That said, “Memory Hole,” one of IndieWire's top rated Quibi launch titles, became the center of controversy when an art collective claimed the show plagiarized its art and other material.