Christian Bale stars in new Terminator movie: 2018, Terminator – Salvation

December 12, 2008

James Bond, Quantum of Solace

November 14, 2008

Resident Evil trailer on YouTube: 1 day, 1 million views

September 20, 2007

I’m not sure how this trailer has generated so many views in 1 day.  But going over the 1 million mark without being featured on YouTube is pretty impressive.

Blockbuster buys Movielink to enter movie downloading market

August 9, 2007

News:  The online market for movie downloads is just in its infancy.  Blockbuster just acquired Movielink to position itself in this emerging market and compete with the likes of Netflix, Apple, Amazon, and WalMart.  (More)

YouTube turned Andy Samberg (from “Lazy Sunday”) into movie star

August 8, 2007

News:  Larry Ratliff has an excellent article describing how YouTube helped propel Andy Samberg’s career, first on Saturday Night Live, and then in his first feature film, “Hot Rod.” 

Ironically, Samberg’s big break came when someone posted an unauthorized clip of his skit “Lazy Sunday” from Saturday Night Live onto YouTube.  Before that, Samberg was relatively unknown.  But after the video went viral on YouTube (getting over 5 million views), SNL signed Samberg and his Lonely Island crew fulltime.  SNL produce Lorne Michaels also signed Samberg to star in his movie “Hot Rod.” 

Of his YouTube fame, Samberg said:  “We were very fortunate. That YouTube wave was coming, and we just happened to have a nice clip that landed on the crest of it. It got us a lot of attention just as it was swelling.”

The Bourne Ultimatum on YouTube

August 7, 2007

Analysis: good movie. Al Finney, who was the good lawyer in Erin Brockovich, was tremendously convincing in his ghoulish role here. But I couldn’t believe it was him because I thought he died a few years ago. It turns out that the real lawyer, Edward Masry, died, not the actor.  The actor from the “Crying Game” also has a small role, as you can see in this video:

User-generated “Die Hard” trailer by Guyz Nite

June 26, 2007

News:  NYT has an article discussing this mashup video made by Guyz Nite about the Die Hard movies.  Guyz Nite is a “comic rock” group that tries to summarize the plots of the entire Die Hard movies in 4 minutes flat.  When FOX movie studio first saw the video, they sent YouTube a DMCA notice to have it taken down.  Well, afterwards, FOX had second thoughts and realized that the fan video was a great way to promote the upcoming Die Hard 4.  So FOX asked Guyz Nite to put the video back up, even paying the group and sending them some preview clips of Die Hard 4 to use. 

Analysis:  FOX made a wise decision.  User-generated content can often be great, free marketing. 

Four Eyed Monsters – first movie to hit YouTube (showing through June 15)

June 12, 2007

News:  Four Eyed Monsters is the first full-length film on YouTube.  Here’s one summary of the movie, a Sundance Channel award winner: “The movie is based on the relationship of its creators, Arin Crumley and Susan Buice, who met online in 2002 with the rule that neither of them would speak in person. Rather, they spent four months getting to know each other through drawings, videos and instant messaging (on top of the usual ways couples get to know each other). In 2004 the film was accepted into the SlamDance film festival and subsequently toured 20 other festivals, picking up awards and – apparently – a mountain of credit card debt.”

The film will be free here on YouTube until June 15.  I haven’t had a chance to watch the flick yet, but it sounds interesting.  I don’t know if it ever got a MPAA rating, but there’s some discussion of sex and dating, for what it’s worth.

Hollywood movies adopting YouTube look

May 20, 2007

News:  Chicago Tribune movie critic Michael Phillips has an interesting suggestion: he says that some Hollywood movies are trying to emulate the home-made, user-generated look of YouTube videos.  28 Weeks Later, 93 United, Bloody Sunday, and the the upcoming The Bourne Ultimatum have it.

Analysis:  Of course, the Blair Witch project had it, even before YouTube existed!

Movie trailer mashups

January 24, 2007

News: USAToday ran an article “Mashups add splice to movies,” which discusses how people are taking movie trailers (and apparently sometimes the movies themselves) released by the movie studios and re-editing them in their own provocative ways. Writes Janet Kornblum: “The Shining is a romantic comedy, Mary Poppins features an otherworldly nanny who frightens innocent children, and Apocalypto is Mel Gibson’s secretly anti-Semitic tirade. It’s also a Zach Braff coming-of-age film. And have you heard about the Titanic sequel?” Movie studio Fox Atomic even has its own website, which allows users to freely mashup movies in the Fox library.

Analysis: Mashups are very dicey under copyright law, no pun intended. Fair use is judged on a case-by-case basis, but it is somewhat risky to take parts of someone else’s copyrighted work and use it in your own (especially when most of the end product is just other people’s works). This past week, the RIAA even had DJ Drama arrested for an alleged criminal violation of the Georgia racketeering statute RICO for his unauthorized commercial use of copyrighted songs in his mixtapes (more here). But that’s a pretty extreme case involving an entire commercial business of making mixtapes. The mashup videos on YouTube probably don’t make their creators any money, and I doubt the mashups compete against or substitute for the originals in the minds of viewers. This may explain why Fox Atomic has already embraced the mashup for its movies.  And the USAToday article doesn’t report any movie studios that have, as of yet, complained.  It might be that the mashup movie trailers help to promote the original movies, at least in some cases.

Netflix to stream movies over Internet

January 16, 2007

News:  Netflix, the popular mail DVD delivery service, has announced that it will start rolling out a new “Watch Now” feature that will stream movies over the Internet, at first to a limited number of subscribers but eventually to all Netflix subscribers.  (More here)  The movies must be played on a computer, and will reportedly have anti-piracy measures.

Analysis: This is a logical next step, but my guess is that it won’t be that attractive to many people.  People watch DVDs on their TVs, and until the Internet delivery allows people to easily transfer a file to the TV, I don’t see this feature as replacing the popularity of the mail order delivery.

Hollywood Asks YouTube: Friend or Foe?

January 15, 2007

News:  Laura Holson of NYT has a probing article today titled “Hollywood Asks YouTube: Friend or Foe?,” which discusses the many issues Hollywood studios face with YouTube.  Of course, one of the big problems is keeping their copyrighted content from surfacing (unauthorized) on YouTube.  Even after the studios find one unauthorized clip of their movies and YouTube takes it down, another may resurface from another YouTube user. “There is only so much we can do,” said Rick Cotton, NBC Universal’s general counsel, who estimated that more than half the videos on YouTube featuring NBC Universal’s television shows and films were unauthorized. As fast as a clip is taken down, he said, YouTube users “can always put up another.”

The article describes a deal with Universal, however:   So in an odd twist, Eminem’s songs from “8 Mile” are cleared for use on YouTube, while much of the accompanying video is not. In what could be an indication of the kinds of deals the studios might strike, Universal Music earns the higher of two amounts when its songs are used in a video: a flat fee per clip or a percentage of advertising revenue.  “We don’t want to kill this,” said Larry Kenswil, a Universal Music executive. “We see this as a new source of revenue for us.”

Analysis:  The notice-takedown procedure seems like a neverending challenge.  Take down one unauthorized clip on Monday, you might find another version back up the same day or week.  Until YouTube’s filtering software is rolled out, or YouTube changes its current policy and requires either greater user verification or more internal review of each video clip before it is posted, I don’t see how this problem goes away.

Rocky VI

December 7, 2006

News: Rocky first came out in 1976; not only was it a box office success, it won the Oscar for Best Picture of the Year. Well, it’s hard to imagine that some 30 years later, Rocky is still fighting. But he is.