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Theater Owners Argue Disney’s Dual Release Strategy Tanked “Black Widow”

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The National Association of Theater Owners believes the Marvel film would have fared better at the box office if it were not also available on Disney+ Premier Access.


Theater Owners Slam Disney

The National Association of Theater Owners wrote a statement on Sunday accusing Disney’s dual release model of tanking the box office haul for “Black Widow.”

The Marvel film shattered pandemic records last week when it opened to $80 million in its opening weekend, also earning another $78 million internationally. In its second weekend, however, “Black Widow” fell hard, earning just $26.3 million domestically. 

The action-packed picture was also released on Disney+ Premier Access for a $30 fee, where it made $60 million in its first weekend. NATO argued that by making the film available on streaming, Disney killed its chances of making more money in theaters. 

The group argued that if you compare “Black Widow” to other Marvel films or “successful” pandemic releases like “F9” and “A Quiet Place Part II,” it should have had a stronger opening weekend. Based on opening day to weekend ratios, NATO said the Natasha Romanoff prequel should have made anywhere between $92 million to $100 million. Based on its preview revenue, NATO says it could have made even more, potentially scoring an opening weekend between $97 million to $130 million.

“Despite assertions that this pandemic-era improvised release strategy was a success for Disney and the simultaneous release model, it demonstrates that an exclusive theatrical release means more revenue for all stakeholders in every cycle of the movie’s life,” NATO wrote. 

The War on Theatrical Releases

Ever since the pandemic began, theaters and studios have been at odds about new dual streaming release models. Studios felt they had no choice but to throw their titles on streaming services as theaters were shuttered for nearly a year, but exhibitors were relying on studios to wait until movies could make money via theatrical runs. 

At one point in 2020, AMC and Regal Cinemas vowed to not show Universal titles after the studio said it would put all its titles on Video on Demand the same day they came out in theaters. The theaters ended up walking the choice back, and Universal also let up and opted to release its biggest blockbuster, “F9” exclusively in theaters. 

Still, studios have remained somewhat cozy with the idea to put their movies on their respective streaming platforms. In 2021, even as the U.S. was on the verge of reopening, Warner Bros. said it would release all its titles for the year on HBO Max the same day they hit the big screen. Warner Bros. received a considerable amount of backlash and it appears the studio will not continue the plan into 2022, but the temptation remains for many others. 

NATO Argues Theatrical Releases Are More Lucrative

NATO also argued that these direct to VOD models are not as lucrative as some analysts claim they are. Studios generally have to split box office revenues 50/50 with theaters, though some major studios like Disney might be able to snag a better deal. Many have stated that when Disney takes a title and puts it up for purchase on Disney+ Premier Access, they get to keep all the cash, but NATO says this is not the case. 

“Approximately 15% of revenue goes to the various platforms through which consumers access Disney+,” the statement said. “It ignores that Premiere Access revenue is not new-found money, but was pulled forward from a more traditional PVOD window, which is no longer an option.” 

NATO also said this strategy “costs Disney money in revenue per viewer over the life of the film” because it is unclear how many people are watching the titles on streaming. It’s also hard to know how many people might share the password to a single Disney+ account, meaning that the $30 fee could be split up across a lot of viewers. 

The other risk that comes with streaming releases is piracy, as it is much easier for someone to make a digital copy of a film they are simply watching on their computer. NATO addressed this in its statement, noting that copies of the film became available quickly after “Black Widow” made its way to Disney+, and it ended up being the most torrented film the week of July 12. NATO claimed the same thing happened with other films that had simultaneous releases like “Cruella” and “Wonder Woman 1984,” but not with films that got exclusive theatrical releases like “F9” and “A Quiet Place Part II.”

“Simultaneous release is a pandemic-era artifact that should be left to history with the pandemic itself,” the statement concluded.

See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Variety) (The Wrap)

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Fire at Home Reportedly Owned by Beyoncé and Jay-Z Under Arson Investigation

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Officials said there were no injuries or evacuations during the fire, which was put out in around two hours.


Fire Breaks Out at Famed Couple’s Reported Residence

A Wednesday fire at a historic home in New Orleans, Louisiana believed to be owned by music titans Beyoncé and Jay-Z is being investigated as a possible arson. 

On Thursday, a New Orleans Police Department spokesperson confirmed to multiple outlets that it had received a tip about a suspicious person in the area. Further details about the suspicious person and the cause of the fire have not been revealed.

Neighbors told local media that there is an unlocked gate on the property that outsiders sometimes use to gain entry.

Officials told The New York Post that it took 22 firefighters over two hours to extinguish the blaze, with no reported injuries or evacuations. The extent of the damage currently remains unclear, but a spokesperson told The Post that given the age of the residence, the situation could have been far more severe. 

“If [the firefighters] didn’t get there when they did, it could have been much worse,” the spokesperson said. “It’s a historic home.”

About the Home

The building was first built in the Garden District neighborhood of the city in the 1920s as a church. It was later used as a ballet school and then became a high-end residence in 2000. Realtor.com says it is currently valued at $3 million.

The home was purchased in 2015 by Sugarcane Parkin LLC. According to The Washington Post, this company has the same registered address as other entities owned by Beyoncé. Sugarcane Parkin is also allegedly managed by Beyoncé’s mother, Celestine Lawson, better known as Tina Knowles.

Representatives for the “Lemonade” singer and her husband have not issued any public statements about the incident, nor have they confirmed that the home is owned by the couple. 

In March of this year, storage units in Los Angeles belonging to Beyonce were burglarized. According to TMZ, over a million dollars of goods were stolen, including expensive dresses and handbags.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Post) (NOLA)

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Cleveland’s Baseball Team Changes Name From Indians to Guardians

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The move marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans. 


Name Change Announced

Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team said Friday that it will change its name after the 2021 season from the Indians to the Guardians.

The team announced the name change with a just over two-minute video narrated by actor Tom Hanks.

“You see, there’s always been a Cleveland — that’s the best part of our name,” Hanks says in the clip. “And now it’s time to unite as one family, one community, to build the next era for this team and this city.”

This marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans. 

Despite long-running calls to change racist and offensive team names — including the Washington Redskins — such campaigns did not gain significant momentum until the nationwide racial reckoning that followed the murder of George Floyd.

Why Guardians?

Officials behind the Cleveland team first pledged to change the name last year and previously removed the “Chief Wahoo” logo, a caricature of a Native American character, from its uniforms following the 2018 season.

It toyed with several options before ultimately landing on Guardians, which draws from Cleveland’s architectural history. 

“We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland,” team owner and chairman Paul Dolan said in a news release. 

“Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity. Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.”

“‘Guardians’ reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge. It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”

Guardians will be the fifth name in franchise history, joining Blues (1901), Bronchos (1902), Naps (1903-14), and Indians (1915-2021).

See what others are saying:(ESPN)(Axios) (Cleveland)

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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editor Slams Megyn Kelly for “Bullying” Naomi Osaka

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Editor M.J. Day said Kelly’s attacks against Osaka are “part of the problem” when it comes to mental health discussions.


Megyn Kelly and Naomi Osaka’s Heated Twitter Exchange

The editor of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue slammed former TV news anchor Megyn Kelly Tuesday for mocking cover model and tennis star Naomi Osaka.

“It’s such bullying and it’s so unnecessary,” editor M.J. Day told People Magazine’s Every Day” podcast. “And [Osaka] did nothing wrong.” 

Osaka made history Monday by becoming the first Haitian and Japanese woman on the cover of the iconic issue. The athlete has been making headlines over the last few months for speaking openly and vulnerably about her mental health. In the spring, she said she was not going to participate in French Open press events because of the toll it takes on her as an introvert who has struggled with depression. She later withdrew from the tournament after that choice sparked backlash and likewise opted out of Wimbledon to take some “personal” time. 

Some — conservative pundits, in particular — slammed Osaka for stepping back from these roles because of her mental health, but still opting to work on other projects, including the release of a Barbie doll, a Netflix docuseries, and a handful of magazine covers. Kelly joined that bandwagon, noting that Osaka has been featured in the likes of Vogue and TIME.

“Seeing as you’re a journalist I would’ve assumed you would take the time to research what the lead times are for magazines, if you did that you would’ve found out I shot all of my covers last year,” Osaka tweeted in response, though she later deleted the post.

“Instead your first reaction is to hop on here and spew negativity, do better Megan.”

M.J. Day Says Kelly is “Part of the Problem” With Mental Health Conversations

Kelly later tweeted that Osaka blocked her on Twitter, lashing out at the tennis champion for that decision as well.

People online have been largely defending Osaka and criticizing Kelly. Many argue that it is unfair for Kelly to attack a young woman who has been vocal about dealing with mental health issues; though it’s a practice the former Fox and NBC host has made a recent habit of, likewise attacking Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry.

Day said that remarks like Kelly’s are the reason it is so hard for people to have open and honest conversations about mental health.

“I’m like, ‘You know what, you’re journalists,’” Day added. “How about you do your job and you fact check instead of jumping all over this woman for attention, for ratings, for whatever it is that they’re doing? Which is, by the way, part of the problem. It’s part of the reason why mental health is such an issue.” 

“How about we do our due diligence and make sure we know what the reality of a situation is before we come for people,” Day continued. “It broke my heart to see someone who is really living her life for the betterment of others while also trying to pursue her own passion.”

“Let her live. Let her make decisions for herself that protect her own wellbeing. It’s at no cost to anyone.”

See what others are saying: (People) (Huff Post) (The Hill)

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