|SONIC THE HEDGEHOGTHE MORNING WATCHVFX ARTISTSSONICVFX|
We have charts from five VOD and streaming platforms; they don’t use the same metrics, and are not independently verified. However, FandangoNOW leads the herd in its decision to list by the nearest equivalent of “grosses” — that is, the number of transactions times the cost. With the majority of releases at $19.99, it gives a better view of comparative performance.
Across the board at FandangoNOW, iTunes, and Amazon Prime, “Sonic the Hedgehog” Paramount and “Bad Boys for Life” Sony —the two top theatrical releases of 2020 — are thriving. Spectrum Cable’s weekly chart, which appears to be a little slower to pick up trends, doesn’t yet show those two films at all. However, like FandangoNOW, it does reflect the presence of the faith-based terminal illness romance “I Still Believe” Lionsgate, the other significant new release over the past week.
Other new titles like STX’s “Brahms: The Boy II” available at a lower price of $9.99 and the year’s best-reviewed new film “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” Focus, which was released Friday — are so far sight unseen.
To judge by platforms that rank by transactions, lower prices do help. We also list Netflix, which is based on the streamer’s ranking of viewings. It presents perhaps the most curious test of what interests the public and what the future of movies and other forms of recorded entertainment looks like.
We will cover this in far more detail midweek as well as look at winners and losers so far and possible trends and changes to come.FandangoNOW
full week rank based on total sales price, not no. of transactions
1 Bad Boys for Life Sony – $19.99
2 Sonic the Hedgehog Paramount – $19.99
3 The Invisible Man Universal – $19.99
4 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Disney – $4.99
5 Onward Disney – $4.99
6 Bloodshot Sony – $19.99
7 Jumanji: The Next Level Sony – $4.99
8 Birds of Prey Warner Bros. – $19.99
9 I Still Believe Lionsgate – $19.99
10 The Call of the Wild Disney – $4.99iTunes
rank based on transactions; list includes current and highest position during the week
1 1 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Disney – $4.99
2 1 Sonic the Hedgehog Paramount – $19.99
3 2 Bad Boys for Life Sony – $19.99
4 1 1917 Universal – $5.99
5 2 Jumanji: The Next Level Sony – $3.99
6 3 Onward Disney – $4.99
7 7 Knives Out Lionsgate – $5.99
8 7 Contagion Warner Bros. – $3.99
9 9 Ford v...
The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, watch as stuntment recreate a fight scene from The Mandalorian with some low-rent props and visual effects in the middle of a dojo. Plus, Patrick H Willems, or rather some of his collaborators, put together a video essay on Labyrinth and the themes of capitalism in 1980s America, and you can get a lesson on how to draw a Walt Disney caricature.
First up, some professional stuntmen, with the help of some local cosplayers and propmakers, got together in Atlanta Judo Midtown to recreate a fight scene from The Mandalorian in a very low budget style. But the camera work and cheap digital effects make this video from Legend of Micah a little more stylish than your average sweded video elsewhere on the web.
Next up, since things are crazy right now with coronavirus, Patrick H Willems takes a backseat to video essays this week. Instead, his collaborators Jake and Matt took advantage of the situation to do a video essay about the 1980s cult favorite Labyrinth starring David Bowie and how it fights back against the idea of greed being good.
Finally, Walt Disney Animation Studios animation supervisor Michael Woodside sat down to teach you how to draw a Disney-Style caricature of Walt Disney himself. It’s all in honor of the annual caricature show curated by the studio, and it’ll help you pass the time while you’re stick at home with nothing to do. Maybe you can even try to draw a caricature of someone else like this too.
While the VFX industry has shifted rapidly to remote access during the global pandemic to keep content pipelines churning, thousands of practitioners have been forced to remain in their offices, putting themselves at risk. That's because of pre-existing non-disclosure agreements NDAs designed to protect intellectual property. As of Monday, though, nearly 10,000 VFX artists have banded together in support of working remotely, signing an online petition to the Motion Picture Association of America MPAA, launched by Mario Rokicki, a color supervisor at Double Negative in Vancouver.
“The NDAs that are forced on VFX Studios put artists and [staff] at [their] peril,” wrote Rokicki. “What was [a] minor inconvenience before is the major life risk situation with Coronavirus outbreak. VFX houses have or can quickly deploy secure technology solutions to allow work from home on the projects that with the magnitude of the pandemic will probably be delayed. All I ask is to put aside often legal misguided IP protection measures and harsh NDAs and allow tens of thousands of dedicated artists to work from home and prevent total VFX studios shutdown and layoffs.”
In response, the Visual Effects Society VES lent its support through the following statement on Monday: “The Visual Effects Society wants to encourage all employers — large or small — to grant permission for their employees to work remotely during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. We understand the concerns around security to protect proprietary work product, but right now is the time for the utmost flexibility towards VFX artists and all practitioners as we try to figure our way through this crisis. Many companies are trying to take action, and we are optimistic that studios and vendors can find and enact workable solutions.”
Nicole Dove / © 2019 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Additionally, the VES Technology Committee issued a series of best practices guidelines for working from home, culled from studios, vendors, and facilities. These cover secure remote desktop solutions, band comparisons, cloud solutions, and, most important, secure file transfer solutions.
Indeed, security file transfer solutions remain the biggest concern for allowing employees to work at home, while the high cost of remote software makes it difficult for contract artists to do the same. However, some staffing is required at studios and smaller companies to keep the IT going and to move files. “Most of the studios have been amenable to it, in concept, but some companies have not been able to sort out how to let artists work from home because of the security aspects of it,” said Mike Chambers, visual effects producer Christopher Nolan's...
The much-discussed “butthole cut” of “Cats” has been confirmed by an anonymous VFX artist who worked on the Tom Hooper musical adaptation. The crew member spoke to The Daily Beast about working on the infamous musical film, which had an early cut where the feline characters appeared with buttholes. While the decision was anatomically correct for the cats, the look was too jarring for release. The VFX artist said, “When we were looking at the playbacks, we were like, 'What the hell? You guys see that?'”
“We paused it. We went to call our supervisor, and we're like, 'There's a fucking asshole in there! There's buttholes!' the VFX artist continued. “It wasn't prominent but you saw it. And you [were] just like, 'What the hell is that? There's a fucking butthole in there.' It wasn't in your face — but at the same time, too, if you're looking, you'll see it.”
The VFX artist was a part of the team tasked with removing the buttholes from an early cut of “Cats.” The crew member has harsh words for director Tom Hooper and calls the experience of working on the film “almost slavery.” Other crew members told The Daily Beast they would stay in the office for “two or three days at a time, sleeping under desks.” The VFX artist said Hooper would rudely criticize their work despite not having a background in animation himself.
As The Daily Beast reports: “Some aspects of the production, the source alleges, became simply absurd — like when Hooper would demand to see videos of actual cats performing the same actions the cats would do in the film. ‘And as you know,’ the source said, ‘cats don't dance.'”
The source went on to call Hooper “horrible,” “disrespectful,” and “demeaning,” adding, “When you go into a conference room, you're not allowed to speak. And he talks to you like you're garbage.”
Universal Pictures opened “Cats” in theaters over the Christmas holiday, where it bombed at the box office with just $27 million in the U.S. and $73 million worldwide. The musical carried a budget of over $80 million before marketing costs. The VFX in “Cats” became a punching bag, most notably because of the “digital fur” used to turn human actors like Idris Elba and Jennifer Hudson into felines. The Oscars featured a bit in which presenters and “Cats” actors James Corden and Rebel Wilson ripped the film’s VFX, but IndieWire’s Chris O’Falt slammed the joke because it’s Hooper’s artistic vision that is to blame for “Cats” being a disaster, not the VFX artists.
IndieWire has reached out to...