ICYMI: Indie Agony, Movies at Mid-Year
Catch up on our recent best
Happy Father’s Day, and an advance happy Juneteenth to all! We wish a wonderful long weekend to all.
This week, Richard’s Mid-Year Movies Report dove into the hits and surprises of the year so far — but also, pointedly, the dire state of independent film.
The first thing that jumps out from this year's charts, (using domestic for simplicity’s sake but below-mentioned trends generally apply) as we characteristically look for dark clouds — is the absence of indie, or even specialty divisions from anywhere in the upper or even middle rankings. You've got to go down the chart to #31 before any of them make an appearance. And that appearance is Book Club 2 from Focus, so adjust your "indie" parameters accordingly.
He also explores the incredible animation renaissance occurring, as Universal and Sony soar — and Disney Animation lags. The significance of this comes, as Richard points out, from CEO Bob Iger’s own words from his 2019 book, The Ride of a Lifetime:
In so many respects, Disney Animation was the brand. It was the fuel that powered many of our other businesses, including consumer products, television, and theme parks. And over the last ten years, the brand had suffered a lot… As Disney Animation goes, so goes the company.
Read his full analysis here (second section in the story):
Speaking of Disney, the departure of CFO Christine McCarthy brought CNBC’s Alex Sherman to our podcast to talk about Disney’s "perfect storm" facing Iger, with just 18 months left on the job, along with other topics:
Give a listen, or read the full transcript here:
Also on The Ankler
In a true “Only in Hollywood” tale, Richard took an extended look at the web of extraordinary conflicts of interest in Penske Media’s takeover of the Golden Globes that includes the euthanizing of the HFPA and going full for-profit.
Lots is said about how TV used to be better in terms of writer residuals in the 1990s. Our Entertainment Strategy Guy questions that narrative as he examines that decade, who made money and how. Amid turmoil of the strike, with residuals a flash point, he shows how answers may not be simple for either side in this debate — and how it could blow up.
This Week in Podcasts
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Yesterday, we republished a post from Rick Ellis, a TV journalist who interviewed an Apple TV+ exec about the strike and television economics:
I don't mean to sound like a dick, but writers tend to be smart and love what they do. But they can also think they're the center of the fucking universe. I know this strike is personal for them. I get it, I'd feel the same way. But this is all just numbers for the studios. What's the least amount we can get away with paying for everything?
Read it in full here, and everything from this week:
Exclusive: An Apple TV+ Exec Talks Streaming, the Strike & Global Television 'What's the least amount we can get away with paying for everything?'
Meet The Strippers Union Backing the Writers Strike Plus, hundreds of unionized janitors join the WGA picket lines in solidarity
International Writers Join Day of Solidarity Meanwhile, scripted TV production remains at a standstill in L.A.
Oscar vs. Organized Labor - the Forgotten History ‘This boom of prestige TV recalls the boom in talkies in the thirties,’ says author Michael Schulman
☀️This Week in The Wakeup
Sean McNulty’s must-read morning newsletter just hit its one-year anniversary with The Ankler. Congratulations to Sean!
IP Picks: Alien Abductions and CIA Assassinations Plus, a charming heist caper from Cedric the Entertainer, and the life story of a trailblazing transgender activist