The Fast Five: DC Creates Its Own Con While Netflix Cancels Shows Thanks to New Covid-Inspired Budget Increases
August 24, 2020
Writers, networks and studios have all been finding creative ways to connect with fans during quarantine. This has resulted in a new TV series for the writer, a new drive-thru experience for the network, and a new Comic-Con rival for the studio. And while all of this was happening, Harry Potter quietly inched his way past the billion dollar mark.
A Writer’s Career Gets an Overnight Boost Thanks To TikTok
Sarah Cooper has been plugging away as a working writer, comedian and published author for a long time, but her fortune changed this year thanks to some original comedy sketches that went viral on TikTok. Now an “overnight” success despite decades of work to get to this point, Cooper has an upcoming Netflix special as well as a series in the works at CBS based on one of her non-fiction books. Aspiring writers can learn a valuable lesson from Cooper’s grind: Always be on the lookout for new opportunities to put yourself out there. Social apps are making stars, but only of the people who put in the work to get there. Lip-synching Donald Trump speeches may seem like an obvious sketch in hindsight, but nobody else did it the way Cooper did. Her humor and personality shone through and brought Hollywood knocking, especially when they learned she was a working writer who knew her way around the industry. Writing a great script isn’t enough anymore. You need a way to separate yourself from your contemporaries. You may not be actively searching for a way to stand out, but your competition sure is. Between this and the story that sold to Netflix after going viral on Reddit, all writers should be using the internet to create a brand and build a fanbase.
Drive-Thru Experiences May Be the New Way For Brands To Connect With Fans
A new Stranger Things fan experience that will allow guests to stay isolated in their cars is coming to Los Angeles. Audience members will drive through a fully immersive show that combines sets with actors…and if that sounds vague, it’s because it is. Not a lot more is known about the event—and it probably doesn’t even matter. People are so starved for entertainment and a chance to leave their house after the past few months that I don’t think a single Stranger Things fan will pass up this opportunity. The full “interactive theater show” will be an hour in length and will have convoys of twenty-four vehicles driving from set to set, allowing groups to enter at regular intervals. So, if you want the chance to drive through Starcourt Mall and end up in the Upside Down, take a trip to Los Angeles and spend the night with your quarantine bubble in this unique story-telling experience. I’m intrigued to see what kind of narrative structure the show takes. Will it be an original story or recreations from the show? Will each set tell a stand-alone tale or be part of a longer narrative? There are so many directions this could go and if it’s successful, we can look forward to seeing more fan experiences in the near future as studios struggle to find ways to keep audiences engaged.
Netflix Cancels Two Fan-Favorite Shows As Budgets Increase On Resuming Productions
As projects resume production around the world, some of your favorite shows are not going to be so lucky. The Society and I Am Not Okay with This, two of Netflix’s popular young adult series, have both had their second seasons cancelled. While the renewal for I Am Not Okay with This was never officially announced, the show already opened a writers room and had scripts completed for a second season. Netflix said the decision was related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has complicated things logistically when large casts need to be assembled and has resulted in budget increases for shows that have gone back into production. TheWrap estimates that studio movies will see a budget increase of 15-20%, while indie projects could see an even larger increase at 30%. For Netflix, a service that operates under the mandate that no show is any more valuable than the next, the increase in cost seems to be a step too far.
DC Takes On Comic-Con With Its Own Live-Streamed Event
When Warner Bros. announced that its flagship comic property, DC Comics, would be skipping Comic-Con, there was some confusion. Sure, Comic-Con wasn’t live this year and Marvel has slowly been opting out of the pop culture convention, but DC always had a presence in San Diego. The comics company more than made up for its absence when it announced DC FanDome, a live-streamed event featuring panels for all of its upcoming movies, comics and video games. Aisha Tyler hosted the event that brought fans new trailers for Wonder Woman 1984, The Suicide Squad, Justice League: The Snyder Cut (which will be a four-hour mini-series on HBO Max), and a major trailer reveal for The Batman. The event was a huge success that generated a lot of buzz over the weekend. DC will host a similar event on September 12th that will focus exclusively on the many television universes, from animated to live action, that currently air on broadcast, cable and streaming networks.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Finally Crosses the Billion Dollar Mark
As of last week, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was the only movie in the franchise to have grossed over a billion dollars at the worldwide box office. This week, it was joined by the movie that started it all, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, thanks to a new 4K remaster released in 3D in China. The opening weekend gross of $13.5 million put the movie over the mark and pretty much guarantees the remaster will make its way stateside. The second movie in the franchise, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, is the furthest away from the billion mark, needing to gross an extra $122 million, while the next closest film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, is only $41 million away. There’s a chance these re-releases could put every Harry Potter movie in the billion-dollar club, but that would require cinemas around the world to reopen. Once that happens, the competition will be fierce with major releases almost every week. Was its success in China the result of demand for Harry Potter, or demand to get out of the house and watch anything in the theaters? We’ll find out when the next movie gets its big 3D 4K premiere.
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.