|WEEKEND BOX OFFICEDOCTOR SLEEPSTEPHEN KINGBOX OFFICE|
During the current worldwide pandemic, movie studios are no longer providing box-office figures because theaters have been shut down around the nation and the world. Because we are less interested in the actual figures themselves and more interested in what people are watching over the weekends, each week we will dive into Most Streamed and Bestseller Lists on Fandango, iTunes, Netflix, and Hulu to pinpoint the weekend’s most watched films.
We are now in our third week of inspecting the most watched movies at home, and it’s interesting how much more movement there is in the VOD market than in the traditional box office. That may be more of a function of our current situation, however, where theatrical movies released earlier this year are heading to VOD in a much faster clip to take advantage of the increased movie consumption at home. They’re probably also trying to recoup some of their losses, as well.
In our first two weeks, we’ve been eyeballing the iTunes and Google Play lists to come up with the most watched VOD movies, but Fandango’s most watched VOD movie seems to be a very good compromise between the two lists. In either respect, most of the lists suggests that the two most popular VOD movies this weekend were the home debuts of the two biggest films released in theaters in 2020, Bad Boys for Life and Sonic the Hedgehog. The two movies add to their $204 million and $146 million theatrical box office. Meanwhile, Pixar’s Onward comes in third now that it is being offered for $5 rental instead of $20 purchase note families: It’s free on Disney+, which cost $6 a month, and if you are spending $5 to watch Onward, you probably live in a family that could use Disney+ to help get through the next couple of months. This is not a plug. It is a lifeline.
Invisible Man is still going strong even at the $20 rental price point, but it’s still doing extraordinarily well, even as other movies have debuted and fallen below it, like Knives Out and Jumanji. e don’t have exact figures on Invisible Man on VOD, but it’s safe to say that it has been a resounding success. Excluding Trolls World Tour which is on presale, Invisible Man is number four, while Harrison Ford’s Call of the Wild - which was also ousted from theaters early - debuts at a middling #10, ahead of the original Bad Boys and two other movies still only available for purchase, Ben Affleck’s The Way Back and Robert Downey, Jr.’s Doctor Dolittle, which isn’t even doing well on the VOD market with families starved for movies.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell’s Downhill, which bombed in theaters, is likewise not making much noise on the VOD market, where it debuted at number 24. Meanwhile, I am only seeing it on the iTunes list #11, but the critically acclaimed indie flick Never Rarely Sometimes Always seems to be doing well. I haven’t seen it yet,...
Brace yourselves, my friends – this week’s Blu-ray column is packed. There are so many movies here that you probably want to block out your entire day just to read this. Go ahead, clear your calendar. Call in sick from work. Lock all your doors, draw the blinds, and feast your eyes. These are the new Blu-ray releases you should check out this week.Parasite
Fresh off its triumphant run at the Oscars, Parasite is now available on Blu-ray, and it’s just as special as you’ve heard it is. If you’ve managed to avoid Bong Joon-ho‘s latest so far, and want to know what the hell all the hubbub is about, here’s your chance. This twisty, brilliant look at class and capitalism follows two sets of families: One obscenely wealthy, the other destitute. Through a serious of events, the have-nots manage to take up residence with the haves. And that’s when things start to get really weird.
It might sound like a cop-out to say, but the less you know about Parasite, the better. And while the film is obviously popular right now, there are still many who have yet to catch it. So I won’t spoil it here. I will say this: What makes this film so unique is the way it never limits itself. Bong is a filmmaker who loves to blend genres, and Parasite is one of the best examples of this – it’s a comedy, it’s a drama, it’s a thriller, it’s a mystery. It’s all these things, and more – hell, it’s almost unclassifiable. It’s the exact opposite of a Hollywood movie, in all the best ways.
Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray:
There’s a reason everyone can’t stop talking about Parasite and it’s big Oscar win: It’s the movie of the moment. It feels like something of a sea change that something this dark, this weird, this unconventional ended up scoring Best Picture. With all that in mind, you’d be a goof to pass this one up. While it would’ve been nice to bless this flick with a 4K release, we’re not there yet. Will there be a double-dip? Perhaps. For now, though, this is the best it gets, and you shouldn’t pass it up.
Special Features Include:Q&A with Director Bong Joon Ho Roma
Who would’ve thought the day would come when a Netflix movie would join the Criterion Collection? That day is today, because Roma, Alfonso Cuarón‘s gorgeous, deeply personal film from 2018, is now part of the collection. Drawing on memories of his own childhood, Roma follows housekeeper Cleo Yalitza Aparicio, phenomenal, and deserving of many more roles as she lives and works in early-1970s Mexico City.
Roma doesn’t have a traditional plot, and some may find that a bit off-putting – I distinctly remember several people complaining that...
Stephen King is now using The Stand to issue warnings about the coronavirus. The author originally did not like when social media started making comparisons between his 1978 novel and COVID-19, but that was before the CDC deemed it a worldwide pandemic. King is not being alarmist in his tweets, he is simply trying to get people to pay attention and practice social distancing. To prove his point, he posted a passage from The Stand.
At the beginning of March, Stephen King tweeted, 'No, coronavirus is NOT like The Stand. It's not anywhere near as serious. It's eminently survivable. Keep calm and take all reasonable precautions.' This tweet is a lot different from what he posted over the weekend, though he again downplayed the severity of coronavirus when compared to his book.
When posting Chapter 8 of The Stand, he said, 'This is how it works. Heed. But remember COVID-19 is not as lethal as the super flu.' He then tweeted out a very simple and clear message: 'Keep your distance.' You can read the passage from the novel below.'Joe-Bob felt fine. Dying was the last thing on his mind. Nevertheless, he was already a sick man. He had gotten more than gas at Bill Hanscombe's Texaco. And he gave Harry Trent more than a speeding summons. Harry, a gregarious man who liked his job, passed the sickness to more than 40 people during that day and the next. How many those 40 passed it to is impossible to say - you might as well ask how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
If you were to make a conservative estimate of five a piece, you'd have 200. Using the same conservative formula, one could say those 200 went on to infect a thousand, the thousand five-thousand, the five-thousand twenty-five-thousand. Under the California desert and subsidized by the tax payers' money, someone had finally invented a chain letter that really worked.'
As you can read in the passage above, Stephen King is illustrating just how easy something like the coronavirus can spread. Most of the world has been practicing social distancing and remaining indoors, but in Southern California and Vancouver over the weekend, where the weather was nice, there were droves of people out in the sun, clearly not practicing social distancing. Parks and beaches will likely be the next things to get shut down.
In The Stand, Stephen King writes about 'Project Blue,' the intense superbug. That strain of influenza was weaponized by the American government and then accidentally released by a soldier who flees the lab where it was developed. After he escapes, he starts to spread the disease until it ultimately kills of 99% of humanity. So yes, coronavirus is bad, but it is not 'Project Blue,' so one can understand why King wanted to keep his distance from that comparison.
The Stand is fiction and a form of entertainment, though it might not be the best thing to read or watch at this very moment. There are plenty of other Stephen King...
Week three of no theatrical releases. That will technically change soon — Universal’s premium VOD-opening “Trolls World Tour” has a handful of still-open drive-ins to play don’t expect any grosses reported. But it was a week full of important stories, with particular interest in a series of release date adjustments. However, no date can be realized if theaters aren’t open, and nobody knows when that will be.
• Exhibitor trade organization NATO held a webinar Friday. President John Fifthian raised hope that some theaters might be open by late May or early June. AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron, who oversees the most screens in North America reiterated his hopes for mid-June.
• With the COVID-19 still in its early stages of national spread, uncertainty about the curve flattening, and signs that in China, which had the earliest outbreaks three months ago, that viral decline doesn’t equal viral defeat, the reality is it could be weeks before anyone can make a reasonable assessment on reopening.
• Countering industry optimism that after weeks indoors, people will flock to theaters is a survey by Performance Research about public attitudes on return to public events. It saw 49 percent of respondents saying feeling safe about returning to theaters ranged from in a few months to never, with 28 percent saying if they do return, it will be less often. That said: This is a snapshot taken nearly two weeks ago, and shouldn’t be considered predictive. It showed similar or worse results for sporting events, concerts, and theme parks.
• Sports league executives spoke with President Trump, who urged resumption as soon as possible. However, Dr. Alan Sills, chief medical officer for the NFL, cautioned it is premature to believe that football can return this fall. Governors in some states that aren’t fully shut down, like Nebraska, encouraged voluntary compliance — with the threat that if the virus isn’t contained, their ardent fans might not have a season. Sports, of course, demand close player and spectator contact, and are more vulnerable even than theaters to the ongoing threat of contagion. But the idea that it is conceivable the country could have a year with no more sports is even more shocking than disruption to theaters.
• The key takeaway from multiple studio release schedule changes is, in re-dating titles, they don’t expect theaters to be fully operational until July at the earliest. Though key June and July titles like Pixar’s “Soul” and Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” remain in those months, “Mulan” on July 24 is the earliest rescheduled date for any major title. Other date changes act as a diversion while theaters are closed, but the reality is everything is written in pencil, not pen.