Is Netflix Doomed?

If there’s one thing this newsletter hates, it’s saying I told you so, and rubbing the world’s face in our status as the lone voice of sanity and truth. It’s a terrible burden to have to make such pronouncements. Terrible indeed. But heavy rests the head that wears the Oracle’s beanie. And so. We TOLDITTOYOU!™ Damnit, while everyone else on Earth was declaring the miracle of Netflix, hailing the arrival of the thousand-year app, counting the days until all of world culture was placed under one or another VP on the Netflix flowchart, The Ankler alone was saying, Excuse me! . . Of course, one spotty earnings report doesn’t the death of a new paradigm make. There are, TO BE SURE, plenty of strengths left at its disposal. But if it’s completely bonkers after one day’s news to declare the dominant company in entertainment doomed, it’s also not too early to start to consider, maybe

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Bullets Over the Box Office: Spidey, Spidey, Spidey Ho

Once again, sequelitis lays waste to all who dare stand before it. If there’s one thing you don’t want to do while franchise fatigue is raging across the land, it’s opening the first sequel of the third iteration of a superhero in a decade. What chance could that possibly have in this environment? Especially coming up against an original, fresh, non-franchise like Toy Story 4 . . . . In looking over this summer’s box office, I keep coming back to reversion to the mean. Now and then you get a movie you might have expected to do better, where a different date would’ve helped, where a better campaign could’ve connected, maybe, possibly. But by and large, if you step back, most things end up doing just about what you’d expect a movie like that to do. Far From Home is the follow-up to a tremendously well-liked rethinking of the character who remains, arguably,

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BULLETS OVER THE BOX OFFICE: DEATH TO ALL NARRATIVES!

• The Sequelitis-addled, opening weekend-disappointer—Toy Story 4—just crossed half a billion in a week. • That’s for an animated film that not only were today’s animated audiences not alive for the debut of but many of them also weren’t even around for the last installment. • When we think about the power of Disney’s streaming service, think about how the ongoing life that many of its properties clearly enjoy and the long long afterlife of its features and how it’s like nothing else in the popular culture. • Sequelitis also apparently missed the sixth Annabelle. $31 million in five days on the sixth installment of a low-budget horror franchise. So are we ready to put an asterisk on the sequelitis talk saying *not including horror? • It’s also a positive blip for Warners, before the “Can’t open a movie” narrative hardened into gospel. • When you’re stressing about the third Annabelle film, and

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About That New Netflix Record…

This is an except from the June 20, 2019 issue of the Ankler. To get the complete issue and not miss a beat from the newsletter that’s got Hollywood shaking, subscribe here today. Netflix did it! They beat the record! Yes, it was its own record, and we’re not completely sure what it’s a record of, but they beat it! A bunch of Netflix viewers watched one of its things! Another ceiling smashed! Bird Box, consider yourself disrupted. Despite the almost total lack of clarity about what this Murder Mystery milestone means, the trades, as is their custom on such occasions, dutifully hyped the Netflix number in the headline and shoved the caveats somewhere down below Netflix shareholders say thanks, you guys! A few things about this: First, of course, it’s very nice to create your own metrics on some internal scale and choose when and where and what piece

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BULLETS OVER THE BOX OFFICE: WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT SEQUELITIS

We all just have to do better. I mean, not just making better movies, although that, too. But also in finding terms to describe our half-baked trend analyses. Sequelitis is the current diagnosis for why the world has turned against all film sequels, spin-offs, reboots, reworkings, and reheatings. The evidence is the five or six films that have bombed, underperformed or failed to meet expectations. A few things about this: First of all, Secret Life of Pets, for instance, will come in below its predecessor. It may (or may not) lose large or small amounts of money. But it still sold $154 million in tickets in a week, which may be unprofitable for its studio, but $150 million worth of seats filled in a week isn’t exactly evidence that the public is allergic to sequels. Second: John Wick 3, Aladdin, and um, Endgame. How with a straight face do you make an argument

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