Netflix falls hard, and what that means; L.A. film production is back; New Mexico fines Rust in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Also, you can livestream the sad spectacle of the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard defamation trial, but maybe don’t? All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
But First: Did you catch the release yesterday of our annual list of 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee? We spent months finding the best festivals to get your film seen, celebrated and sold. Here is that list. Congratulations to all of the wonderful festivals on it!
This Just In: New Mexico officials have fined the film Rust $137,00 in in the fatal shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, calling out “plain indifference” to gun safety measures that could have saved her life. This is far from the end of the producers’ troubles.
Netflix Nosedive: Yow. As of this writing, Netflix stock is down by more than a third on yesterday’s earnings report news that it lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of this year. This was the first time the company lost subscribers in a decade, and it blamed inflation and the suspension of its service in Russia because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Anything Else? Stocks also fell in other companies heavily focused on streaming, including Disney (which owns Disney+), Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. (which owns HBO Max), and Paramount Global (which owns Paramount+). Basically, it’s not a great day to have a plus sign next to your name.
How Bad Is This? I’m not a Wall Street analyst, and I understand that investors want to see constant growth, but for perspective, Netflix currently has 222 million paying subscribers – more than six times the roughly 33 million subscribers it had in 2012. So yes, losing subscribers is bad, and this may be a sign that the boom is over. But long-term, Netflix has performed phenomenally and dramatically changed the way we consume entertainment. It has eaten dramatically into theatrical releases and network TV’s audience, and of course created a model for its competitors to follow.
L.A. Production Going Strong: FilmLA, which issues permits for the film capital, says the City of Angels just hit a first-quarter record of 9,832 shoot days. The last time FilmLA came close to that first-quarter number was in 2016, when it had 9,725 shooting days. The first-quarter numbers were down slightly from the fourth quarter of 2021, but filming in the first quarter of 2022 was up more than 40 percent over the same period in 2021.
Worry If You Want, But Also Be Happy: Remember those grim lockdown days when we never wanted to watch another streaming series and couldn’t wait to shoot movies again and were desperate to get back to film festivals and in-person screenings? Well, those days are here. Take a moment to be happy, and maybe even start booking some travel.
Telluride: The Mountainfilm documentary film festival just announced its return to a complete, in-person festival this Memorial Day weekend in Telluride, Colorado. After two years of successful online and hybrid events, it will screen over 130 films over the course of the May 26-30 festival as it marks its 44th year, back in the glorious San Juan mountains. “We are so grateful to be returning to a full in-person festival, and we invite our local community to join us and share in a weekend full of adventure, inspiration, passion and activism. Mountainfilm promises to deliver that much-needed dose of post-pandemic inspiration and stoke,” says executive director Sage Martin.
Blackmagic Design: Blackmagic has unveiled DaVinci Resolve 18, which includes a game-changing new cloud collaboration update that allows editors, colorists, VFX artists and audio engineers to work simultaneously on the same project, on the same timeline, from anywhere. Great news for people who want to shoot their movies in booming L.A. and edit them in Telluride, for example. A free trial is available here, and the video below features Blackmagic Design CEO Grant Petty walking you through the new features. (It starts at the 29:08.)
M. Night Shyamalan: Shooting is underway on the director’s 15th feature, starring the previously announced Ben Aldridge, Jonathan Groff, Dave Bautista, Rupert Grint and Nikki Amuka-Bird. There are no plot details but you may get the gist from its title, Knock at the Cabin.
— M. Night Shyamalan (@MNightShyamalan) April 19, 2022
Ezra Miller: In our sensitive, politically correct times, it seems that it’s no longer okay to throw chairs. The Flash actor Ezra Miller was arrested yesterday in Hawaii and charged with second-degree assault for reasons explained in a Hawaii Police Department press release: “During the course of their investigation, police determined that the individual, later identified as Ezra Miller, became irate after being asked to leave and reportedly threw a chair, striking a 26-year-old female on the forehead, resulting in an approximate half-inch cut,” the news release says. “Miller, who identifies as they/them, was subsequently arrested at 1:30 a.m. for Assault in the second degree after being located on the roadway during a traffic stop at the intersection of Highway 130 and Kukula Street in Kea‘au.” Police also said the alleged assault occurred “at a get-together at a private residence in the Leilani Estates subdivision in lower Puna.” Miller was also arrested last month in Hilo, Hawaii, after an incident at a bar where police said Miller became agitated by people singing karaoke. “Miller began yelling obscenities and at one point grabbed the microphone from a 23-year-old woman singing karaoke (disorderly conduct offense) and later lunged at a 32-year-old man playing darts (harassment offense),” police wrote at the time.
Comment of the Day: Yesterday Caleb Hammond asked you for your favorite rom-coms. David Hollingsworth has this excellent response/recommendation: “One of my favorite rom-coms is 1937’s The Awful Truth with Irene Dunne And Cary Grant. It remains hilarious, clever, and showcases the incredible chemistry between Dunne and Grant that is still apparent even 85 years. You can’t beat the classics!”
Livestream: Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against ex Amber Heard is being live-streamed, for some reason, and you can watch it here if you like. There’s a split screen where you can watch Depp answer questions and Heard’s reactions to them, which is just beyond weird.
Main image: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard at Depp’s defamation trial against his ex-wife.