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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (June 2020)

Yes, there are still summer movies. Nowhere near as many as usual, since the COVID-19 virus scared off most of the herd into later this year or next. But director Christopher Nolan fully intends to open Tenet, his $200 million time-bending epic, in more than 3,500 theaters in July. Ditto Disney, as the company plans to counter with its live-action Mulan that same month. And in August, Warner Bros. will go in on Wonder Woman 1984. All three potential blockbusters are big-money gambles. In order to make a profit or just break even, they’ll need us to put on masks, submit to temperature checks, and make sure we sit six feet apart when we finally push into theaters operating at 30 to 50 percent capacity to maintain social distancing.


Sunday, May 03, 2020

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (May 2020)

The shutdown has lasted for less than two months, but in that short time the fallout from the pandemic has brought the film, television, music and theater businesses to their knees. It’s the greatest economic calamity to ever hit Hollywood, Broadway and other entertainment business hubs, dwarfing the wreckage left by such recent catastrophes as 9/11 and the Great Recession. And it’s being felt most acutely by production designers, camera operators, makeup artists, grips, stagehands, ticket takers, casting directors and character actors, whose names may not adorn cinema marquees but whose work forms the backbone of the business.

In February, the Motion Picture Assn. estimated that the film and TV industry directly employs 892,000 people. It’s not yet known how many of those jobs have been lost, but it’s possible to make a rough guess. According to federal data, about 125,000 of those employees are movie theater ushers and concessionaires — nearly all of whom have been furloughed or laid off. Another 170,000 work as actors, directors, camera operators, lighting technicians, set designers and other production workers — a large percentage of whom are also not working.


Friday, April 03, 2020

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (April 2020)

The 2019-20 TV season has been shaken up by the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down all production, cut short current seasons and delayed new ones. Mandated to remain indoors, a larger-than-usual viewing public is turning to the small screen for entertainment and escapism amid the health crisis.

For those waiting for something new on those screens, here’s our annual list of spring premiere dates for new and returning series. It covers more than 150 broadcast, cable and streaming programs debuting between April 1 and May 31 in all dayparts. It does not include movies or specials.

Shows whose premieres have been delayed amid the COVID-19 crisis are compiled at the bottom of the post along with their original premiere dates, if they had been announced.


Sunday, March 08, 2020

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza ([most of] March 2020)

After weighing the pros and cons of keeping a scheduled April 10 bow for its main action tentpole amid the coronavirus outbreak, MGM opted for a cautious route by pushing the upcoming James Bond outing No Time to Die to November. But how much will the move, prompted by growing disruptions due to the epidemic, cost the studio that fully financed the film?


Saturday, February 01, 2020

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (February 2020)

With half a decade in the rearview mirror since Pono’s arrival, however, there may be another, more valuable take on its creator to consider.

Neil Young’s insistence that hardcore music fans would be willing to pay extra for a high-definition digital music experience looks less outmoded in 2020 than it did in 2015, now that Amazon has put an HD-quality up-sell at the center of its multi-tiered music streaming offering. Particularly so because Amazon Music, according to Midia Research, now looks set to overtake Apple Music in global subscriber volume terms this year.

...

Allow me, then, to lead you toward an alternate retrospective tale; one which vanquishes any suggestion of Neil Young as a myopic fuddy-duddy, scrabbling to deal with the realities of the Spotify age — and instead views him as someone provably ahead of the curve of music-technological trends (albeit not always with the most rip-roaring tech at his disposal).


 

 

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