The Fast Five: Censored Articles Find a Home In Videogames As The Industry Hits The $100 Million Mark
March 17, 2020
I hope everybody’s safe and healthy. Wash your hands. Cough into your sleeve. Make sure you have fourteen days’ worth of supplies, but don’t buy six months’ worth—it means twelve people won’t be able to get their two weeks’ worth and will have to go out if they get sick. And that’s the last I’ll say on the coronavirus so we can distract ourselves from the current pandemic and focus on an industry that’s still trying to move forward. Because the show must go on.
Travis M. Andrews wanted to find an answer to that question, so he wrote a piece for The Washington Post asking creators what it was like adapting Stephen King’s books for the big and small screen. Every writer had their own way of handling the task. Screenwriter Gary Dauberman had to decide what parts of the book could be cut for the film version of It, while crime novelist and screenwriter Richard Price had to extend his source material when HBO ordered The Outsider as a 10-episode series. Price had to put himself in the main character’s shoes and decide what it would take to make the cop at the center of the story start to believe in the types of things that Stephen King writes about. The majority of projects being sold in today’s market have an IP source behind them—meaning most writers will be tasked with adapting another writer’s work at some point in their career. Each one will have their own approach, and some material will lend itself better to the medium than others, and it all makes a fascinating read about the ways different writers handled the task.
The entertainment industry has set a new record by crossing $100 billion in worldwide revenue for the first time ever. The number includes theatrical releases, home video rentals, sales and streaming—which helped the home entertainment sector bring in $58.8 billion. This is good news for the industry as a whole, as it shows there’s a revenue stream that can replace theatrical attendance losses. Look for the streaming number to rise again this year as HBO Max and Peacock go live, and established streamers like Disney+ continue to expand. The theatrical number will probably fall from the $42.5 billion it brought in last year now that Disney’s purchase of Fox is complete. Disney has no plans to release extra movies to fill the gap that Fox’s loss has put in the schedule, which will result in less major films being released in 2020. And since Disney loaded last year’s calendar to hype up the launch of Disney+, its own schedule is light on major releases this year.
John Boyega is going to bring Africa to the masses. Through his production company UpperRoom Productions, the Star Wars star signed a deal with Netflix to make a series of non-English language films centering on stories from East and West African countries. In order for the projects to be authentic, they will be developed in African countries with African writers and will tell stories from an African perspective. The move comes shortly after Netflix released its first African original series, the spy action-drama Queen Sono—and just as it makes international features a priority. Thanks to Netflix releasing its international shows and movies worldwide, a new generation of viewers are growing up with non-English language content and don’t see subtitles as the barrier that some older generations do. This opens up a world of amazing stories to them, including recent Best Picture winner, Parasite.
Unfortunately, government censorship is alive and well in almost every country in the world, in some significantly more than in others. Reporters Without Borders has found a novel way to bring journalism censored by the governments of Egypt, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam to the people of those countries. Through video games! The group has teamed up with Blockworks, DDB Germany and MediaMonks to build the virtual Uncensored Library in the video game Minecraft that can be accessed by anybody—effectively bypassing the government’s censorship. Visitors can head to the library and find writings by assassinated journalists Jamal Khashoggi and Javier Valdez, as well as many more works that governments have attempted to keep their people from reading. The game has a monthly user base of 145 million people and this loophole will allow many of them the opportunity to finally read reporting that is critical of their government.
Here’s a little secret about Hollywood: most people don’t watch movies in theaters. They wait until the end of the year and watch them at home via the DVD screener they’re sent in the mail. Why DVD and not Blu-Ray? Most voters are in an age group that hasn’t upgraded to HD and wouldn’t be able to watch a Blu-Ray. So most people in the industry watch movies in the worst possible quality before they vote on which one is the best. Well, The Emmys have finally said enough to disposable screeners and will no longer allow studios and networks to mail DVDs to voting members of the Television Academy. This is great news for voters who were sick of getting massive packages with full seasons of shows they were never going to watch, but bad news for the networks. Emmy screeners will move to an online system (if your voters can’t watch HD I don’t know why you think they’ll be able to navigate streaming) but the fees to put a show online are pretty hefty at $8,000 a pop. Either way, this is good for our environment, as Netflix will no longer send out a 20-pound box of screeners that goes unwatched because everything they send out is already on Netflix.
Written by: Conrad SylviaConrad Sylvia is the creator of the The Week in Television, a private industry newsletter that recaps the week's television news in a humorous and unique manner. Throughout the years he has developed projects for studios and production companies and continues to provide freelance research on the current television landscape and international marketplace. He is also a fan of drinking in the bathtub. A full tub if he's happy, an empty tub if he's sad.