- Netflix passed the Walt Disney Company in the stock market, signaling what could be a potential shift in the entertainment industry as lockdowns continue.
- As streaming becomes a go-to form of media consumption, Netflix has already seen massive success with projects like Tiger King.
- In the next few months, other major new shows and movies are slated for release, making it one of the few platforms regularly releasing new, original content right now.
- Meanwhile, traditional studios and movie theaters have been put on hold and are looking at the future. Right now, plans for reopening theaters could include half capacity seating and playing old classics if new releases continue to be delayed.
Netflix Passes Disney
Netflix passed the Walt Disney Company in the stock market in a move that could be very telling about what is to come for the entertainment industry as the country, and much of the world, stays at home.
On Tuesday night, Netflix closed up 3.2% with a market capitalization of $187.3 billion. Disney’s market cap sat just under at $186.6 billion, and closed by going up 2.5%. This could be a significant step up for Netflix as investors see potential for streaming to shine and traditional studios to fall behind as people are stuck at home.
According to Forbes’ Tom Nunan, this is something that could have long-term impacts on Netflix.
“For Netflix itself, a high market cap not only means it’s worth more and will therefore have greater resources at its disposal to invest in programming and distribution,” Nunan wrote, “but the company’s leadership – – Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos – – can rightly congratulate themselves for creating a streaming service that the world loves and uses so much…it’s now worth more than the Magic Kingdom.”
As streaming becomes the thing to do in lockdown, Disney does have a horse in the race. Its service Disney+ has seen boosts since stay at home measures began, but for the media giant, Disney+ is just a small piece of its puzzle. The company is also home to huge blockbusters, theme parks, hotels, cruises, retail, and other branches that usually rake in money, but are relatively dormant right now. As a result, the company has furloughed employees in multiple departments.
For Netflix, however, streaming is its meat and potatoes, and its appetizer and dessert, too. Meaning that while other studios lie in wait, it has the chance to take the spotlight.
What Lies Ahead for Netflix
In many ways, it already has. According to data shared with Business Insider, visits to its sign up page have seen quite the surge. Throughout the whole month of March, “visits to Netflix’s US sign-up page rose year over year” by significant amounts. In the second week of of the month, when social isolation started to become the new normal, visits to the page rose by almost 40%.
In the third week, when stay-at-home measures became widespread, it was up 123%. Traffic on the sign-up page has remained at an increase of over 100% since then.
While not everyone visiting the sign-up page may actually sign up, it’s safe to assume that a good chunk do, and the increases at least signify an elevated interest in the platform. And as subscribers go up, Netflix is also faced with the challenge of putting up new content.
For the most part, Netflix is in the same boat as most major studios when it comes to current productions being put on pause. But, it still has an advantage, because its strategy ensures that there are almost always a plethora of new projects coming down the pipeline, making it one of the few places audiences can regularly stream new content right now.
Between now and the end of April, there are several new releases for Netflix originals, including a new show from Mindy Kaling titled Never Have I Ever, a Ryan Murphy documentary called Circus of Books, a Chris Hemsworth-led action film called Extraction, and The Willoughbys, which is an animated feature with a star-studded voiceover cast.
The month of May will bring more new content, including another Ryan Murphy project starring Darren Criss called Hollywood; and a limited series titled The Eddy, which comes from Oscar-winning La La Land director Damien Chazelle.
So far, new content has served Netflix well during lockdown measures. It’s jaw-dropping docuseries Tiger King saw 34 million views in its first ten days and was the most-streamed title on the platform for two weeks. Buzz on social media generated a lot of interest for the series, which ended up getting a bonus episode shot in isolation. Comedian Joel McHale hosted a reunion among many of the documentary’s participants via web chatting, showing that the streaming giant knows how to capitalize on its quarantine popularity right now.
Movies Plan for the Future
While Netflix is seizing the day, pretty much the rest of the film industry is spending their time planning for the future. Movie theaters and studios are deciding what the plan should be when they return back to normal. But it’s still unclear what that “normal” might actually look like.
As things currently stand, no big pictures are set to hit theaters until mid-July when Mulan and Tenet hit screens, assuming they do not get further delayed. With these dates in mind, Cinemark, one of the largest theater chains in the country, is developing a game plan to open its doors.
According to CNBC Cinemark is looking to let people back in, but only filling theaters up to 50% of their capacity. They are also considering implementing staggered seating arrangements to allow for social distancing. If movies keep getting pushed back and a lack of new films end up being an issue, they could also dive back into their library and get audiences by playing some of the classics.
While opening up theaters to only partially filled crowds sounds like a financial risk, Cinemark maintains that this will be profitable. They claim they can easily profit if only under a third of the available seating is full, and have even turned profits when turnouts are as low as 10%.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (Vanity Fair) (The Verge)
“Dahmer” Series Breaks Netflix Records Amid Backlash For Exploiting Victims’ Stories
Family members of some of the murderer’s victims say the program is “retraumatizing.”
“Dahmer” Lands Successful Week on Netflix
While criticisms mount against “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” the true crime series broke Netflix’s record as the most-watched first week for a series debut.
According to data provided by the streaming giant, the Evan Peters-led show was watched for over 196 million hours between its release on Sept. 21 and Sept. 25.
“Dahmer” is the newest of several pieces of fiction and media based on the famous serial killer. Created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, the series quickly generated a lot of attention online, primarily from those concerned the show is exploiting a gruesome true story.
Critics have echoed those fears, giving the show a mixed 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The “Critic’s Consensus” blurb on the site states that while the show is “seemingly self-aware of the peril in glorifying Jeffrey Dahmer” the story still “tilts this horror story into the realm of queasy exploitation.”
Victims’ Families Speak Out
The family of Errol Lindsey, one of Dahmer’s victims, has also spoken out against the series. In a viral tweet, Lindsey’s cousin Eric Perry said his family is “pissed about the show.”
“It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what?” he wrote. “How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?”
In much of the promotion for the series, Netflix claimed it would be told from the perspective of the victims. Perry slammed that narrative, noting that his family was never even contacted by the streamer about the project.
“So when they say they’re doing this ‘with respect to the victims’ or ‘honoring the dignity of the families’, no one contacts them,” he wrote. “My cousins wake up every few months at this point with a bunch of calls and messages and they know there’s another Dahmer show. It’s cruel.”
Lindsey’s sister, Rita Isbell, echoed that claim in an essay she wrote for Insider, noting that Netflix did not notify her of the show, or ask her any questions about her brother.
She said that watching the show “felt like reliving it all over again.”
“It brought back all the emotions I was feeling back then,” she wrote.
“It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed,” she continued.
Obsession With Dahmer
Controversy has also grown from some of the responses to the series, as many viewers have posted fan edits of the show that romanticize Dahmer. Some pair clips of Peters’ Dahmer with his victims to love songs or pop ballads, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those who do not understand why someone would make content glorifying the killer.
Others have responded to the show by calling Dahmer “hot” or posting thirst tweets about his mug shot. This has resulted in a backlash of its own.
“Jeffrey Dahmer molested and murdered people, mostly black men and boys,” one person wrote. “So to see people making edits and thirst traps of him is a little off putting.”
“if I see anyone tweeting thirst tweets about Jeffrey Dahmer I’m immediately unfollowing,” another person said. “That’s so fuckin nasty.”
Concerns that this kind of media results in more people admiring Dahmer are also mounting in Milwaukee, where many of his crimes took place. According to TMZ, the city is considering creating something to honor the victims, but officials fear a physical memorial would turn into a “mecca” for Dahmer’s fans.
YouTube Removes Age Restriction From Nicki Minaj Video After Singer Calls Company a “Bogus Platform”
Even though her video can now be viewed by all YouTuber users, Minaj made it clear she was upset that the age-gate tanked its view count in the first 24 hours.
Nicki Minaj Vs. YouTube
Nicki Minaj called out YouTube on Monday after the platform age-restricted her new music video for “Likkle Miss Remix” featuring Skeng.
By age-restricting a video, YouTube blocks users who are under 18 or not logged into a Google account from viewing the content.
Minaj’s video features close-up shots of people in skimpy outfits twerking, but several videos on YouTube with similar imagery have not been gated. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” video is available for everyone, as is Minaj’s own “Anaconda” video.
In a since-deleted Instagram post, Minaj accused YouTube of being inconsistent and playing favorites.
“They restricted my fucking video but have things a million fucking times worse on their BOGUS FKNG PLATFORM,” she wrote in a post that included a screenshot of YouTube’s age-restriction notice. “This is what they do to keep you from winning while doing ads for another ppl and posting fake fkng stats. Because the same ppl who run YouTube are in bed with a certain record label and mngmnt company.”
Minaj further alleged that YouTube’s actions were done to prevent her from getting a significant number of views in the video’s first 24 hours, which is often the most crucial timeframe for a video’s success. She continued to assert that the Google-owned company has a bias toward certain music labels.
YouTube Walks Back Restriction
“How long have yall been playing the numbers game to lie & pretend ppl r doing ‘good’ when they r not?!?!!” Minaj continued in another post. “How much ad space did these duds purchase to be promoted on my channel in the last 5 years?!??!!!!”
Later on Monday, YouTube removed the restriction from Minaj’s video, per Variety. The company said the content in it did not violate its rules and guidelines.
While Minaj ended up deleting her Instagram posts calling YouTube out, she made it clear she was still frustrated by the debacle.
“FUCK THEM DUDS,” she tweeted. “THEY CANT GIVE US BACK OUR FIRST 24 HOURS CAN THEY?!?!!!”
As of Monday afternoon, her video had been viewed over one million times.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (The Independent) (Billboard)
“Don’t Worry Darling” Tops the Box Office Amid Bad Press
Audiences are already giving the film higher praise than critics did.
Young Women Flock to “Don’t Worry Darling”
Weeks of controversies and rumors did not prevent “Don’t Worry Darling” from finding victory at the box office, with the Olivia Wilde-directed thriller debuting at number one over the weekend and raking in $19.2 million.
Wilde also acted in the mid-century mystery, which starrs Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, and Gemma Chan.
Women led ticket sales for the picture, comprising 66% of the audience, according to several reports. At least partially due to the appeal of Styles, crowds also skewed young, with over half under the age of 25.
Overseas, the film made over $10 million, bringing its total for the weekend to $30 million. That number is especially impressive since the R-rated drama had a budget of $35 million.
“Don’t Worry Darling” had been plagued with weeks of rumors about behind-the-scenes drama leading up to its release. Among other bouts of gossip, many online speculated that Pugh and Wilde had riffs on set, leading to Pugh’s refusal to promote the project. One report alleged the two got into a screaming match, but sources on set denied it.
Wilde and Shia LeBeouf, who was originally cast in the picture, also got into a public he-said-she-said about whether he quit the film or was fired.
The drama hit a boiling point during its premiere at the Venice Film Festival when Twitter users circulated a video they claimed showed Styles spiting on Pine, though both parties have denied that allegation.
A Film Riddled With Rumors
Furthering the bad press were the bad reviews. Critics largely panned the film, sticking it with a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes. After this first weekend, moviegoers seem to have a more favorable outlook, as it has a 79% audience score as of Monday.
Jeff Goldstein, the distribution chief for Warner Bros., told the Associated Press that “the background noise” caused by these controversies “had a neutral impact” on its box office haul. The studio released a statement saying it was pleased with the movie’s earnings.
Some analysts believe that, if anything, the online gossip and fodder may have aided the film’s box office performance.
In a tweet recapping the weekend’s box office, Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, said the “drama sparked a huge wave of interest.”