THE ADDAMS FAMILY
In an environment where content is king but creation has been made difficult by the pandemic, any new project of importance generates excitement.
It was reported that Tim Burton is currently working on a modern interpretation of the Addams Family TV series.
The fictional characters created by Charles Addams in the late 1930s representing an inversion of the ideal family 80 years ago, had been adapted multiple times in TV series, Features, short or TV specials. The subject matter is considered a sure thing and because the attention of the audience is solicited from all directions, an idea that has been explored under various formats for generations with success, is as close as it gets from a guaranteed new success.
Because there is so much references though, viewers would watch and compare. Will Tim Burton keep the spirit of the original plots while bringing newness to attract an audience of all ages?
One thing for sure, it is difficult to imagine a better writer, director and producer than Burton to take on the project. He would be assisted by executive producers: Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. MGM is involved as a distributor, negotiating with multiple platforms. No timeline has been set, it would be Burton first gig as a Director for TV.
QUIBI IS SHUTTING DOWN
We reported three months ago the difficulties Quibi had to attract new subscribers to the short form entertainment App. We also felt confident that veteran entertainment Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and respected Manager Meg Whitman would find ways to solve the subscription problem.
The problem had no short term solutions. Subscriptions being the sole source of revenue, financing project with Hollywood stars costing lots of money and not enough revenue brought serious unbalance in Quibi financials.
Quibi needed 7 million subscribers, with only half a million, the task became impossible.
The decision to end the streaming on the App has been set for December 1st 2020. One major question remains, what will happen to the IPs acquired by quibi? Some, like the remake of "The Fugitive" with Kiefer Sutherland shown lots of interest from the subscribers. So far, no announcement has been made on which platform is interested in buying if any.
Many in the industry think that the idea of a short form streaming app is good but the timing isn't, and believe that it is not dead but just sleeping waiting to be woken up at a more appropriate time.
THE SUCCESS OF DOCUMENTARIES
The growing interest in documentaries in general comes partly from the busy life we are living. Our attention span is shorter, consuming news with minimum information leaves us often frustrated with a desire to know more. The documentary will take a subject and elaborate on it in an entertaining way.
French Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau had filmed numbers of documentaries from a world under the seas never reported until then. The information value, the discovery have riveted generations of viewers in front of their TV, attracted by the adventure.
Sir David Attenborough has dedicated his life to the discovery of lands and nature unknown to man, bringing these discoveries to the rest of the world under the documentary format. The storytelling is adventurous and exciting.
In recent years, the documentary has been used as a militant tool, seeking attention, action and justice.
David Attenborough, now in his 90s has witnessed the degradation of our environment, direct consequence of men actions with disregard for nature and resources. His most recent documentary: "A Life on our Planet" is a documentary with a strong message. Sir David is mixing footage of previous documentaries, discovering species, colors, plants and trees, unbelievable life from 40 years ago, and its disappearance in such short time, creating unbalance of our ecosystem affecting not only humans but all animals, vegetals and minerals. The film is an alarm alerting all people that if they do not act to save the balance of our ecosystem, it will be irremediably lost, giving place to a more hostile environment. Attenborough intent is clear, lots of the discoveries he once reported about are already lost. He does not attract our attention on an unknown kind of monkeys, describing them with wonder as he used to do, he is telling us they no longer
At a time where news are consumed on all kinds of formats, the accuracy of the news is put in doubt. It is true for all issues, climate change of course and an entire palette of issues such as communities' relations in our societies.
The Center for Media and Social Impact, recently released a study showing that documentaries are a trustworthy source of information, allowing subjects such as social challenges and justice to be approached under various angles. Neutral or not, a documentary is the result of an investigation that reports news with depth.
We are reading less and less but are still thirsty for storytelling. It is no surprise that documentaries are attracting a growing amount of viewers.
"A Life on our Planet" by Sir David Attenborough is a MUST see. (currently on Netflix)
In Europe, the increase of covid-19 cases in France, Germany and Italy is forcing the authorities to take more restrictive actions, even considering another lockdown.
Curfew has been declared in France and Italy, Germany is increasingly worried and the Chancellor is not putting on the side the possibility of another lockdown. Meanwhile, movie theater networks are very pessimistic. some have already declared bankruptcy, others are holding on by a thread. Major releases such as James Bond "No Time to Die" have been postponed three times already.
Beyond the government's decisions to keep theaters closed or open with reduce capacities, is the potential help from major studios contribute to theater networks survival?
After all, how good it is to postpone a release if there are no more theaters to play it?
Even if MGM is involved in theaters partnerships, the success of the new James Bond would be partly placed on box office results globally however, conversations have taken place between MGM and streaming platform for a 1 year license costing $600 million.
It seems MGM is considering the possibility of not being able to launch the new James Bond in theaters which is adding to the industry anxiety.
THE SUCCESS OF CRIME SERIES ON AMERICAN TV
Ever since the first crime series in 1949 "Man Against Crime", the genre has been a staple of TV programing in America. While today's series such as "Law and Order" or "Criminal Minds" have become more sophisticated, the plot is the same: Law enforcement investigating and solving crimes.
I have been watching some rerun of the original "Perry Mason" which format is based on a lawyer doing the investigating to find the truth. We know Perry Mason is going to solve the problem, we know the defendant is wrongly accused, we know the prosecutor will once again loose the case yet, we keep watching riveted by one unknown: If it is not the defendant, who did it?
The success of crime series on the small screen for the past 70 years is due to different factors. The entertainment value is important, the mystery counts for a big chunk. Crime stories are also about the forbidden. Most of us have been brought-up with a value system respecting life often backed-up by religious education. There is a kind of voyeurism, watching something we'll never do but knowing that many are crossing the line. We want to know why, the motivation, will justice be served?
Strangely, there is some excitement about crime, disrupting our daily routing, spicing the boring moments of our everyday life. Some may have been real victims of crime, turning their lives upside down but for most, TV crime is safe. Then there is the format. Crime as a genre is being constantly reinvented. The straight detective like "Columbo", Perry Mason the lawyer, the novelist solving crime like "Murder she Wrote", forensic based stories like "CSI" or "Bones". Graphic or hidden, crime is an endless source of stories.
TV MEDICAL DRAMA
Very much like the crime series, the TV medical drama has been a very popular genre.
Starting in the early 1950s with "City Hospital". Since, we have watched series such as "M.A.S.H" turning the drama into a comedy or "St. Elsewhere". It is however with "E.R" in 1994 that the medical drama attracted a much larger audience, forcing TV series producers to pay attention to the trend. The format, very much like the crime series, is being reinvented every year with new concepts mixing the medical drama with romance like in "Grey's Anatomy" or introducing puzzling medical challenges like in "House".
Modern medical dramas have also been the vehicle of specific messages introducing the challenges of a brilliant mind affected by Autism in "The Good Doctor" or the social battles of a Syrian doctor in "Transplant".
For the past 25 years, the recipes for making a great medical drama has been perfected, injecting current news making issues in the story, asking actors to stand for an idea.
The genre is here to stay. The imagination of writers takes place from real medical situations from which they elaborate their stories. To be as real as possible, doctors, often emergency room physicians, are consultants to the production.
AMERICAN FILM MARKET 2020
Like most of the trade shows, A.F.M is opening the 2020 edition exclusively online.
The organizers have announced in early October the commitment of 300 exhibitors and over 1000 buyers from 70 countries.
In a normal year, A.F.M usually gather some 7000 industry professionals, networking and dealing.
An interactive map of the different activities is available on their website with screenings and debates.
MIPCOM which just ended has shown some success with their online edition, A.F.M is hoping for similar results, giving hopes to an industry struggling, facing restrictions to produce in the current environment.
Music Partner is attending this year's online edition, playing its role to provide music services to independent Filmmakers and Producers, allowing them to generate revenues from the music royalties Music Partner is sharing.
Beyond the quality music and profit sharing, Music Partner's mission is to fully satisfy its members, no matter what project they are working on.
Families all over the world, have debated who played best the iconic role of her Majesty Secret Service most famous agent. While there are as many opinions as actors who played the role, most agree though that Sean Connery was the most charismatic.
In late October, the news of his passing away was shocking. After all, Sir Sean Connery was 90 but we were so used to see him full of life in all his movie roles. We like to believe that our heroes are immortal and the film industry has giving them this status by recording for the ages the stories which have entertained us.
James Bond had been the platform launching his popularity. His sculpted body was mainly the reason of his hiring along with his willingness to commit to the role for future productions. He turned out to be a very credible actor in the role, and if 007 is coming first when thinking of Sean Connery, he has played unforgettable roles in many other productions. Here are some of our favorites in no particular order:
The Name of the Rose - The Anderson Tapes - The Man Who Would Be King - Highlander - The Untouchables (won an academy award for his role) - The Hunt for Red October - Entrapment - Finding Forrester.
Goodbye Sir Sean Connery and thank you for the countless hours of entertaining pleasure.