By Gavin Pease
You've heard it a thousand times before. After the bloodpumping preview for the hottest new blockbuster follows the tired cinema tagline: "Coming to a Theater Near You". In years past, this means a quick trip to Fandango and you've got yourself some tickets to a 90-minute thrill ride.
Cinema theaters are remaining closed across the country, and the winter weather is still too cold to enjoy the nostalgic outdoor, drive-in theaters. So what are we to do?
Stream, stream, stream...
Set the Scene
Being from the scenic wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, we're no strangers to a beautiful stream (see what we did there?).
The Video Streaming Market was already on a dominant rise in the industry, making up for a vast majority of video content consumption and sizing in at a whoppping value of $42.6 Billion in 2019, according to Grandview Research. This trend was only dramaticized by the spread of COVID-19 early in 2020. Streaming & Video-on-Demand Services saw huge growth as we were confined to our living rooms for weeks and months at a time. As Forbes reported, the streaming giant that is Netflix saw nearly 16 Million new subrscribers in the first quarter of 2020 alone.
Movies Gone Mobile
The absence of their prime venue has really thrown a wrench into the Hollywood Film Industry. On-set filming largely halted across the globe due to the requirements of large crew sizes. Films that have been finished and realeased are forced to do so online, and at a higher pricetag than consumers are used to on such platforms.
Perhaps the strongest case study of the past year is the release of Chistopher Nolan's Tenet. Slated to have released in the primetime of summer blockbusters, Tenet's July theatrical premiere was delayed multiple times in the process. Eventually it would release in August, 2020, and even in very select theaters despite warnings. However, one look at the Tenet website will tell you how their marketing efforts have leaned in the times of our current pandemic. Tenet's online release also revealed a higher price as well to attempt to recouperate the loss in funds that would normally come from ticket sales. Comcast Xfinity users were only given the option to 'Buy' the film, as opposed to a usual added 'Rent' option.
Some studios have had a little help in protection against such a blow. Disney has had the added benefit of their exclusive streaming service, Disney+, established some time before the beginning of the pandemic. Here, Disney has taken to realeasing their live-action animation remakes and Marvel Studios releases independently. Although blockbuster releases like Mulan also carried a heftier pricepoint, they are also the best bet for consumers as they are the most reliable. Platforms that have their own studios and originals established allow for a more flexible model for the company, and in turn can continue providing a steady stream of fresh new content for us.
Platform Originals and Shows
Platform originals are some of the best new content available. With their hybrid approach of matching high budget with down-to-earth stories, what better way can you think of to spend a lazy sunday on the couch? Or a lazy year? We hope not.
We've been steadily cruising through our stream dashboards too, and we've found some pretty fun stuff. Here are our recommendations for Element 7's 'Must Watch' Originals and their providers:
The Queen's Gambit
In a 1950s orphanage, a young girl reveals an astonishing talent for chess and begins an unlikely journey to stardom while grappling with addiction.
After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.
When carefree Nyles and reluctant maid of honor Sarah have a chance encounter at a Palm Springs wedding, things get complicated as they are unable to escape the venue, themselves, or each other.
An irreverant take on what happens when superheroes, who are as poular as celebrities, as influential as politicians, and as revered as Gods, abuse their superpowers rather than use them for good.
As the industry continues to shape it's best practices surrounding the filming and viewing of movies as we knew it, there could still be large delays on the horizon for our most-awaited films. Lucky for us, the big Hollywood Studios aren't the only one's in pursuit of the artform. Countless artists devote their time and energy towards creating unique and innovative films, which means there's no shortage of video to watch.
Vimeo is our favorite video platform for content creators and viewers alike. On vimeo there is an endless wealth of underground storytellers sharing their message. Narrative films of all lengths and genres, punchy music videos, groundbreaking documentaries, and so much more. Check out Vimeo's Staff Picks for the perfect place to dive in.
Now you can impress your friends over your Zoom Happy Hour with all the new recommendations you have that they've never heard of.
Just be sure to share them with us too!