Tag: VOD


Film Studios Weigh Up Their Options On VOD and Theatrical Releases

August 6, 2020
Disney's Mulan

Saying that the last few months have changed our lives completely would be a massive understatement. Not only when it comes to work and family life but also the way we watch movies. The subscriptions of Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ rose immensely due to the Coronavirus. Not only because we were still stuck at home more than usual but also because we weren’t able to go to the cinema. Now that the theatres are slowly opening again, we dare to set a foot inside the cinema. Even though new releases such as Make Up, Saint Frances, and Unhinged are really worth the watch, we’re not flocking to the cinemas as much as we should due to the lack of blockbusters. However, because people don’t go to the movies, major studios are delaying their releases. This is really the ‘chicken or the egg?’ dilemma.

Every Delayed Movie So Far

When will we see new releases?

If 2020 was like any other year, we would have been able to watch A Quiet Place Part II, Black Widow, and Wonder Woman 1984 already. However, sadly those releases (and many more) have been delayed. Covid-19 has an impact around the world and for major film companies, it’s difficult to pinpoint when they will be able to release their newest movies. They can’t keep on postponing releases but they also have to adapt to the current environment.

Well, it seems that Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros might have found a way to releases films in cinemas after all. First, they will release Tenet in the countries in which movie theatres are already open and delaying the release in cities that aren’t ready to open the doors of the cinemas yet. If everything goes as planned (which is absolutely no guarantee these days), we will see how this works out at the end of this month. Will this be the start of a new (temporary) film landscape or will major studio keep on delaying?

Release on VOD before the theatrical run?

Because of the closing of cinemas, many movies went to VOD straight away. Greyhound from Aaron Schneider and starring Tom Hanks was one of the major ones that skipped the cinemas entirely. Major companies see the potential of VOD releases but they also realize that the movie lovers are still willing to go to the cinemas once it’s safe. Films will always have a cinematic release but the theatrical window is now becoming shorter and shorter. There probably will be more films like Bill & Ted Face the Music which will be released in the cinema and on VOD on the same day.

This might also be the solution both major studios and film-goers are waiting for. Those who want to go to the cinema can go and those who prefer watching the movie at home can do that as well. At the same time, film companies can show their movie to the biggest audience possible.

Bill & Ted: Face The Music (Official Trailer)

The impact of delayed film productions

Not only the releases have been impacted by the Coronavirus but also the film productions. They had to be put on hold for a few months and while some of them are re-starting again, it will probably also mean that they will be released later than expected. The question remains whether they will be delayed because of the temporary halt or because the cinemas won’t be fully re-opened by then.

How does the future of film look like?

It will take a while before things turn back to ‘normal’. People not going to the movies because of no new films and major companies pushing back the releases because people aren’t going to the cinemas. It feels like we’re going in circles at the moment. Releasing films in certain territories based on the current situation or releasing them on VOD and in cinemas at the same time might be possible (temporary) solutions. There’s also an extra solution for people who are keen on returning to the cinemas but don’t go yet because of the lack of new movies. Support smaller films and independent venues because they need us now more than ever.

Also Read: Breaking The Theatrical Window

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Five Thought-Provoking Documentaries To Watch On BirdBox

June 3, 2020
BirdBox.Film Documentaries

Bird Box is a brand new video-on-demand platform, focused on curating worthwhile, thought-provoking, conversation-starting, award-winning, critically-acclaimed films. They handpick titles worthy of your attention and send them to your inbox once a week.

Here are five 5 must-watch documentaries to get you started.

Deep Web

Deep Web is a 2015 documentary film directed by Alex Winter, chronicling events surrounding Silk Road, bitcoin and politics of the dark web. The feature documentary that explores the rise of a new Internet; decentralised, encrypted, dangerous and beyond the law; with particular focus on the FBI capture of the Tor hidden service Silk Road, and the judicial aftermath.


Elián recounts the story of a Cuban boy named Elián González who, on Thanksgiving Day in 1999, was found floating on an inner tube in the Florida Straits, an event that set in motion a bitter custody battle between Elián’s Cuban father and US relatives. Set to the backdrop of a tense and acrimonious relationship between the US and Cuba, the documentary features a wealth of contemporary news archive and gives unprecedented access to key players in the saga, including an exclusive interview with the boy himself, now a 23-year old man.

Project Nim

Project Nim is a 2011 British documentary film. It focuses on Project Nim, a research project that was mounted in the 1970s to determine whether a primate raised in close contact with humans could develop a limited “language” based on American Sign Language. Equal parts hilarious, poignant, and heartbreaking, Project Nim not only tells a compelling story masterfully but also raises the flag on the darker side of human nature.

Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia

In Gore Vidal’s America, the political coup has already happened. In this film, Gore Vidal’s acerbic, opinionated and informed approach rips away at the facade of the new America. Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia is a 2013 documentary film about the life and career of author Gore Vidal. Anchored by intimate one-on-one interviews with the man himself, Nicholas Wrathall’s new documentary is a fascinating and wholly entertaining portrait of the last lion of the age of American liberalism.

The Last Animals

The Last Animals is a story about an extraordinary group of people who go to incredible lengths to save the planet’s last animals. The documentary follows the conservationists, scientists and activists battling poachers and criminal networks to protect elephants and rhinos from extinction. From Africa’s front lines to behind the scenes of Asian markets to the United States, the film takes an intense look at the global response to this slaughter and the desperate measures to genetically rescue the Northern White rhinos who are on the edge of extinction.

Visit www.BirdBox.Film to check out more thought-provoking films, critically-acclaimed films.

Also Read: What Happens To Your Brain When Watching A Horror Movie

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Netflix By The Numbers

February 23, 2020
Netlix logo on a laptop

Netflix needs no introduction. Chances are even if you don’t have an account, you probably use someone else’s. The streaming service has become a huge giant in recent years. Being the biggest hitter in the “streaming wars” and spawning the phrase “Netflix and chill”. It’s hard to imagine life without Netflix.

As a celebration of how Netflix is always there for us, whether we’re hungover or going through a bad breakup. Here are 7 fun facts about the streaming giant you may not have known.

Netflix has been around since 1997

Netflix originally mailed out DVD's for rental
Netflix originally mailed out DVD’s for rental (Credit: CNN, 2019)

While many think the company started around the time the streaming service debuted, it actually started much earlier. Originally it was envisioned as a competitor to Blockbuster. It even sent out physical DVD’s of the show/film customers wanted to watch. The rental chain actually had the chance to purchase Netflix, but the CEO never even considered it. He probably regrets it now…

YouTube inspired it’s streaming

YouTube is another site that has exploded in popularity as streaming has become popular

While the idea of renting films without the hassle of posting a DVD was always on the company’s mind, thing’s could have been quite different. Because of internet speed and bandwidth back then, the idea was to have a “Netflix box” which would download the film overnight, having it ready for the next day. However, the rise of YouTube made them reconsider, and adopt a streaming method, instead of downloading.

Netflix has 10 of the best TV Shows

Stranger Things is one of Netflix's most popular original shows, both with critics and viewers.
Stranger Things is one of Netflix’s most popular original shows, both with critics and viewers (Netflix, 2017)

Netflix has quickly become known for its original programming, as well it’s a massive library of licensed content. Since 2013, it has produced its own “Netflix Originals”, with 10 of these being rated on IMDb’s Top 250 TV list. The highest-rated of which is Narcos (Number 52 at 8.8) and Stranger Things (55 also at 8.8). Other Netflix Originals on the list includes Bojack Horseman, Daredevil and Mindhunter.

The “Netflix Effect” on Breaking Bad

Netflix not only helped make Breaking Bad one of the most popular shows ever, but also helped develop the sequel film.
Netflix not only helped make Breaking Bad one of the most popular shows ever, but also helped develop the sequel film. (Netflix, 2019)

It’s hard to imagine now, but in 2010 Breaking Bad wasn’t the influence it is now and was almost cancelled after the third season. Netflix needed a big hit for it’s streaming service and Breaking Bad needed more viewers. Luckily it worked for everyone, as the show was introduced to a whole new audience just in time for its fourth season. This partnership is still ongoing, with the sequel El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie premiering on the site, as well as new episodes of spin-off Better Call Saul.

They’re an International Distributor

While Annihilation got a theatrical release in the US, in many countries, like the UK it was released on Netflix.
While Annihilation got a theatrical release in the US, in many countries, like the UK it was released on Netflix (Netflix, 2018)

On top of their Netflix Originals, and library of licensed content, they also distribute some new releases internationally. In 2018, they premiered The Cloverfield Paradox after a surprise reveal at the Super Bowl. They have also dealt with international distribution for films such as Alex Garland’s Annihilation and Andy SerkisMowgli: Legend of the Jungle“.

It’s one of the most visited websites

Many Netflix accounts have multiple users (Netflix)

The exact ranking’s vary day to day, but Netflix is one of the most visited websites on the whole internet. At the time of writing, it is currently ranked at number 21. In 2019, there was reportedly 158.8 million viewers in the US alone, this figure is expected to grow to 2023 177.5 million. That’s over 18 million more viewers in 4 years!

It’s won eight Oscars

Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” was nominated for 10 Oscars (Netflix, 2019)

Since 2014, Netflix has been nominated 54 times over various categories. Their films have in total been nominated in 21 of the 24 categories, and have won in the Best Director (Alfonso Cuaron), Best Supporting Actress (Laura Dern). Several of their documentaries have also won Oscars.

Also Read: The Netflix Problem

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Quibi And The Rise Of Short Films

December 30, 2019
Quibi Short films

The streaming wars are well underway, and while not every service has launched yet, they are starting to get expensive as people decide how many streaming services they actually need. While some platforms are getting by having access shows like “The Office” or “Friends” others are spending millions on exclusive content that people just have to see, whether for watercooler moments or awards potential.

Quibi, however, is trying something completely different- all of its programmings will be around 10 minutes or less (The name is a mash-up of “quick bites”). Its content is designed to be watched on a smartphone or tablet, perfect for on your break or waiting for the bus, similar to a lot of Snapchat’s content. but with added production value, as well as wider variety.

Who is supporting it?

Just some of the people developing projects for Quibi (Fortune, 2019)

The company has raised over $1 billion investment which it plans to spend on content, with 7,000 short episodes as a target. It has even attracted some big names, including Guillermo Del Toro, Sam Raimi, Jason Blum, Anna Kendrick, Laurence Fishburne and Kiefer Sutherland all have projects that will debut on the platform, in a variety of different genres. “Spielberg’s After Dark” (Yes, that Spielberg) will only be available after dark (get it?) and will be unavailable during the daylight.

This kind of experimentation forms much of Quibi’s ethos, as well as most short films in general. The shorter format allows for some interesting results, with filmmakers being put under a short time limit or having a smaller budget they often have to get creative. Quibi hopes to be more creative and unique with its content than other streaming providers like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Short films have often been an important step on the road to feature films, with many directors honing their skills with shorts before directing their first feature. Films such as Taika Waititi’s “What We Do In The Shadows”, Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash” and the original “Saw” film all started as short films before finally becoming the films we’re familiar with (The short film versions of these and a few others can be viewed online). These are often submitted to festivals such as the London Short Film Festival or Aesthetica Film Festival, in the hopes of gaining an audience. Some even have their own premieres before being posted online (Big Picture Film Club sometimes helps with this).

How will this change streaming?

Quibi is designed to be used on either a smartphone or tablet (credit: Quibi)

With such big creators focusing on short-form entertainment, Quibi could attract a lot of viewers that don’t have time in their lives to sit down and watch a three hour epic like The Irishman or binge all of Mr Robot. People have busy lives and, if Quibli is successful, we could see more content geared towards it. Short films could become much more popular. Feature films get released on platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, could we get short films released on there too? Having names like Spielberg, Del Toro would help create buzz, and move away from the “student film” label many shorts are given. It is also giving some projects a new lease of life. “When the Stree Lights Go on” was originally envisioned as a feature, then a series, and will now premiere as a series on Quibi.

How other platforms adapt to Quibi is a mystery, as it will launch in April of 2020, it is unlikely that the big streaming sites will suddenly only have short programming, but we may see a rise in it. As Co-Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg said “Quibi is not a substitute or a competitor for television” rather it aims to have your attention instead of YouTube, Snapchat, or other apps used on your phone during the day. Although some people may rather wait for a full season and watch the short episodes all at once. The main issue it could come across is the subscription. Why would people pay when they can watch YouTube for free? (Which also has it’s own subscription model). Whether people will want to spend their commute watching “Biggest Little Cook-Off” or scrolling through Instagram remains to be seen.

If you would like to sign up to Quibi’s newsletter or apply to be a part of their team, you can do so here

Also Read: British Brown Girls: Short Films Re-Defining British Asian Women On-screen

More: Advice For Firest Time Independent Feature Filmmakers

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