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Streaming Sites May See Boosts as Theaters Close, but New Projects Could Suffer

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  • Universal is taking four of its in-theater pictures and putting them on video on demand. The Hunt, Emma, and The Invisible Man will be available Friday, and Trolls World Tour will be available on April 10, the same day it hits theaters.
  • The box office saw a two-decade low over the weekend as people stay home because of the coronavirus. Big chains like AMC and Regal have also announced temporary nationwide closures.
  • While theaters are taking the hit right now, streaming could see a 60% boost, according to data tracking firm Neilson.
  • But, in the long-term, more remains uncertain as productions are shutting down and financial losses overall for Hollywood are predicted to be incredibly high.

Studios Pick VOD as Theaters Close

As major movie theater chains temporarily shut down nationwide, streaming and video on demand services have the opportunity to see a big boost from quarantine binge-watching. 

On Tuesday, AMC and Regal announced they would be temporarily closing their locations as movie theaters see empty seats during the coronavirus pandemic. This comes just a day after Universal opted to take some of its current releases, The Hunt, The Invisible Man, and Emma, and put them on video on demand by the end of the week. 

“Given the rapidly evolving and unprecedented changes to consumers’ daily lives during this difficult time, the company felt that now was the right time to provide this option in the home as well as in theaters.,” Universal said in a statement. The pictures will be available on Friday for a $19.99 48-hour rental. Trolls World Tour will also get to VOD treatment on April 10, the same day it is set to hit big screens. 

Audiences Respond

Trolls Star Anna Kendrick praised the move online, saying she was “happy we can spread the joy while everyone stays safe.”

Many others were also excited that these selections would be made available at home. 

Some, on the other hand, were surprised by the price tag.

Universal is not alone in this strategy. Warner Brothers also announced plans to make Birds of Prey available on VOD early as well. Disney+ decided to release family hits like Frozen II and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on the platform sooner than scheduled. Fans are also calling for Onward, Disney-Pixar’s current release, to hit streaming or VOD early so viewers can get the chance to see it. 

Box Office Lows

These choices come as Hollywood has been shaken up by the coronavirus outbreak. It started with big pictures like Mulan and No Time to Die getting delayed, but was quickly followed by a blow to the box office. Last weekend was the worst in two decades, with the box office raking in only roughly $55 million. 

Usually, just one movie could probably pull that kind of cash in on its own. For comparison, in mid-March of last year, the highest grossing movie was Captain Marvel, and it made almost $68 million during one weekend. The top five highest grossing movies in mid-March made $113.8 million in one weekend. But theater closures and the practice of social distancing now make those kinds of numbers unattainable. 

Streaming Boost

While all of this means doomsday for theaters and the box office, it does give the upper hand to streaming. According to information from Nielsen, a data measurement firm, staying at home can lead to a 60% increase in media consumption, a figure that directly translates to streaming and television. 

Nielsen also says that people who work from home consume, on average, three more hours of television than someone in-office. So, with more employees being told to work remotely, this could create more TV consumption. 

Disney+ alone has a lot to gain from this situation, as reports indicate that half of the home in the United States with children under the age of 10 have already subscribed to the service. Not only is this number expected to go up because of quarantines, but the amount children will be consuming because they are home from school is likely to increase as well.

Industry’s Future in Limbo

In the long run, the outbreak could lead to bad news for most facets of the industry. Streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon, and other TV and film giants like HBO, Disney and more have halted the productions of their upcoming content. This leaves uncertainty for their slates of new programming and could lead to further delays. 

The full impact of this right now is unknown, but according to Wired, Hollywood is on track to lose $20 billion. This number is likely to get even higher the longer this lasts.  

See what others are saying: (Wired) (Variety) (Deadline)

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Upcoming “Karen” Movie Slammed as Rip-Off of Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”

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The horror film follows a Black couple that moves into a house next door to a white woman named Karen.


“Karen” Trailer Goes Viral

The viral “Karen” trope is getting the Hollywood treatment, and people on Twitter would like a word with the film industry’s manager. 

“Karen” has become a term used to describe entitled, and often racist, white women who are quick to call the cops or complain about customer service when things don’t go exactly their way. The upcoming movie, called “Karen,” is a horror picture that follows a Black couple that moves into a new house next door to a pearl necklace-wearing and Pinot Grigio-drinking white woman. Any guesses on what her name is?

The film, a BET Original, was written and directed by Coke Daniels and stars Taryn Manning as the titular “Karen.” Cory Hardrict and Jasmine Burke play the couple that’s new in town. The trailer was released on Thursday but started gaining traction online this week.

Throughout the trailer, Manning’s character is seen threatening to call the manager at a restaurant, setting up security cameras that look at her new neighbors’ house, and calling the cops on a group of teenagers while they record her in that now-familiar viral format. 

She also says that Burke’s character is “slaving away in the kitchen” upon entering her home and tells a group of Black people, “you people are very angry.” It also appears that she owns a soap dispenser with the Confederate flag on it. 

In case people watching were unable to put the glaringly obvious puzzle pieces together, a small child eventually says, “She doesn’t like Black people,” in the trailer.  

Because the hammer is perhaps hitting the nail a little too harshly on the head, many wondered if it was even a real movie or some kind of “Saturday Night Live” parody. 

Twitter Compares Film to “Get Out”

Others thought it looked like the film was ripping off Jordan Peele’s hit horror movie “Get Out,” which is about a Black man meeting his white girlfriend’s family.

“Get Out” was praised for using the horror genre to provide nuanced commentary and observations on racism in America. Peele won an Academy Award for the film’s original screenplay, and it was also nominated for Best Picture. “Karen,” on the other hand, is not likely to wind up part of the awards conversation come 2021.

Daniels ended up sharing an article comparing his upcoming project to “Get Out” on his Instagram story, also apologizing for bringing Peele into the online discourse. 

Daniels previously told Deadline that he wrote this film in 2020 as discussions about race relations in the United States were reaching a boiling point. 

“Last year during the global pandemic and civil unrest, I — like many of us — felt anger, despair and hopelessness,” he said. “The overwhelming amount of support from people around the globe, who want to see change, has been such an inspiration.”

“Karen” does not yet have a release date.

See what others are saying: (Esquire) (CNN) (Independent)

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Carl Nassib Becomes First Active NFL Player To Come Out as Gay

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While making his announcement, the athlete also pledged a $100,000 donation to The Trevor Project.


Nassib Comes Out

Carl Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, made history on Monday as the first active NFL player to come out as gay.

The 28-year-old made the announcement in an Instagram video, along with a longer written statement.

“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for,” he said in the post.

“I’m a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” he continued.

“I actually hope that like one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary. But until then, I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project.”

In the text that followed his video, Nassib went on to explain why he was so drawn to The Trevor Project and its mission to provide suicide prevention services to the LGBTQ community. 

He also noted that he was thankful for the support from his NFL coaches and fellow players. “From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance,” he wrote.

Praise From Sports Community

Nassib’s announcement was met with praise from his team on social media, as well as other athletes and the NFL itself.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement on behalf of the league, saying that it “is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth.”

Several football fans and commentators, including sports reporter Jemele Hill, also pointed to the potential impact his bravery could have.  

“Carl Nassib likely isn’t the only active gay player in the NFL, but him coming forward will be huge for those who haven’t gotten there yet,” HIll tweeted. “Very courageous decision that will not only help other players but so many young people in this country.”

See what others are saying:(ESPN)(The New York Times)(NBC News)

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Billie Eilish Apologizes for Mouthing Racist Slur in Old Clip

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Eilish said she is “appalled and embarrassed” to have mouthed along to a song containing the term, which she did not know was a slur at the time.


Video Shows Billie Eilish Using Slur

Singer Billie Eilish apologized Monday night for mouthing an anti-Asian racial slur in an old video that recently resurfaced on social media. 

The clip was featured in a compilation that went viral on TikTok. In it, she was mouthing along to the song “Fish” by Tyler the Creator, which contains the slur. The compilation also showed her speaking in a voice that many interpreted as her mocking foreign accents or languages.

“I love you guys, and many of you have been asking me to address this,” Eilish wrote on her Instagram story. “And this is something that I WANT to address because I’m being labeled something that I am not.”

Eilish Apologizes for Mouthing Term 

The “Bad Guy” singer said she was 13 or 14 at the time the video was taken, and claimed she had no idea the word was a derogatory term at the time. 

“I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that I ever mouthed along to that word,” Eilish wrote. “This song was the only time I’d ever heard that word as it was never used around me by anyone in my family. Regardless of my ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact is that it was hurtful. And for that I am sorry.”

Regarding accusations that she mocked foreign accents and languages, the singer said she was speaking a “silly gibberish” that she made up as a child and uses around her pets, family, and friends in a joking manner. 

“It is absolute gibberish and just me goofing around, and is in NO way an imitation of anyone or any language, accent or culture in the SLIGHTEST,” she added. “Anyone who knows me has seen me goofing around with voices my whole life.”

Regardless of how it was interpreted I did not mean for any of my actions to have caused hurt to others and it absolutely breaks my heart that it is being labeled now in a way that might cause pain to people hearing it,” she continued.

The Grammy Award-winner said that she wants to use her platform to promote “inclusion, kindness, tolerance, equity, and equality.” She closed her statement by telling her followers that it is important for people to listen and learn when it comes to conversations about these subjects.

Read her full apology below.

See what others are saying: (Variety) (Complex) (The Guardian)

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