Is the Future of Movie Going In Its Past?

Bruce Campbell, Twitter:

While filming Congo, I sat on top of a Volcano talking to Tim Curry about that movie. He said one of the coolest things was that it saved a number of small indie theaters from going under, because they knew that two nights a week The Rocky Horror Picture Show was going to do big business.

Just a thought experiment here…

I read a lot of the Hollywood trades, since its usually a lot of the least click-bait-y movie content possible. Sites like Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, etc. and a key point has become very clear about the current state of movie going in America…

  • Moviegoers will come out in droves if there’s a movie they want to see. See the release of Top Gun: Maverick this Summer.
  • Moviegoers don’t have many movies to see right now. See the incredibly quiet period of theatrical releases since August 5th’s Bullet Train, which continues until….let me check the release calendar…October 14th’s Halloween Ends?1

This, understandably, leaves the theaters themselves in some dire straits, which has tanked the stocks for AMC, and made Regal consider filing for bankruptcy.

But that quote from Bruce Campbell, along with — Holy Shit — the massive box office for last weekend’s re-release of Avatar made me wonder, is the future of making movie theaters “work” continuous screenings of beloved classics?

We’ve certainly seen some tests of this during the COVID era, along with the event screenings done by Fathom Events, and AMC also did some cheap screenings of Disney films to celebrate the corporate holiday “Disney+” day, but if there’s a model I can point to for the rest of the world, I’ve got two suggestions:

  • The Charles, an awesome indie theater here in Baltimore, does a load of amazing one-night-only revivals
  • The Alamo Drafthouse, shock of shocks, celebrates movies quite well with their Movie Parties

There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the rule, instead of the exception. Let’s give people a reason to see beloved classics big and loud. And hey, maybe it’ll make a nice bit of change for the studios, too. Connect with tastemakers to do cool intros or Q&As, tack on making of footage, do sing-alongs for classic musicals…anything and everything to celebrate what people love about movies and make the theater experience an event….even if the movie isn’t an event itself.

  1. Yes, I know, cool movies like Confess, Fletch, Barbarian, and The Woman King have hit theaters, along with the possible Oscar bait release on October 7th of Amsterdam. I’m speaking of the “big blockbuster” which draws in audiences.

NASA Successfully Crashes Ship Into Asteroid

NASA:

After 10 months flying in space, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) – the world’s first planetary defense technology demonstration – successfully impacted its asteroid target on Monday, the agency’s first attempt to move an asteroid in space.

Mission control at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, announced the successful impact at 7:14 p.m. EDT.

As a part of NASA’s overall planetary defense strategy, DART’s impact with the asteroid Dimorphos demonstrates a viable mitigation technique for protecting the planet from an Earth-bound asteroid or comet, if one were discovered.

I love that this is a thing we do now, just fire ships at stuff in space. NASA rules.

MSCHF is at it again, with KEY4ALL

MSCHF/Key4All.com:

We have rebuilt the entirety of ZipCar with a fleet of one single vehicle, but rather than a study in shared resource management, Key4All has been engineered to be Grand Theft Auto: Tragedy Of The Commons.

Key4All exists somewhere between the delight of communal ownership and the teeth-grinding capitalist competition of Hands on a Hard Body.

The car is transient and un-ownable, a journey and temporary blessing. It is a contest without the security of victory. If you find the car, it is yours. But if you want to enjoy the fruits of your victory and drive, then you must accept the risk of taking the car out in the world–that another driver-errant may snatch the vehicle out from under you.

Bless the ridiculous art-weirdos at MSCHF — they who previously gave us such things as Lil Nas X’s Satan Shoes, the AllTheStreams Illegal Streaming Service, and Dead Startup Toys, among other delights — this might be one of their most clever works yet.

For those wanting an easy breakdown of how this works…

  1. You go to Key4All.com, and spend $19 for a key fob.
  2. That key fob, along with all the others sold at Key4All.com unlock the same single individual car.
  3. If your key fob is near the car, it will glow green, and you can click the key fob to unlock and drive it.
  4. There’s a hotline you can call to find out where the car may be.
  5. Anyone else with the key fob can just unlock and use the car at any time — in turn, if you arrive somewhere in the car, you may not leave with it.

In short, as it says on the site: “Thousands of Keys — One Shared Car.”

I love it.

We Need To Talk About How None Of You Are Talking About CONFESS, FLETCH

David Fear for Rolling Stone:

Hahahaha, we’re totally kidding. Of course you have not heard there’s a new Fletch movie out. You have not been inundated with billboards, surrounded by full-page ads, beset by TV spots and trailers galore. You did not know that not only has this been out in theaters — possibly one or two near you! — since September 16th, but can also be rented digitally and/or online as well. Maybe you caught Jon Hamm doing his patented Jon Hamm thing on a late-night talk show, or more likely, saw clips on YouTube of Jon Hamm showing up on a late-night talk show, but weren’t exactly sure about the 411 of what he was promoting. What is this? When is it out? What’s he confessing to, or about? Is this a religious movie?

There is a poster, and a trailer, and the movie did get a Los Angeles premiere that allowed Hamm, director Greg Mottola and several other cast members to walk a red carpet — we know this only because we’ve seen photographic evidence, although we’re not quite convinced this isn’t a false-flag gala event. Some reviews trickled in; the majority of them were extremely positive. But in terms of an actually getting the word out that the movie exists in the first place? A movie like this should not automatically fall through the cracks. That said: how do you sell something like Confess, Fletch in the Year of Our Lord 2022, i.e. a comedy not featuring Will Ferrell or Ryan Reynolds, in which no Marvel heroes or Jedis or people named Harry Styles show up, and involving a film franchise that dropped its last entry prior to the first Iraq War?

A great piece which absolutely skewers how dire the state of moviemaking is when something as downright delightful as a new Fletch movie starring the absolutely goddamned star-worthy performance of Jon Hamm can’t even get a taste of oxygen.

I watched the movie over the weekend. You can too. It’s on VOD. And it’s a great laugh. But sadly, there just isn’t room for much more of these movies these days.

As Fear writes…

What is a tragedy is that a worthy movie like Confess, Fletch, which not only touches upon a gaggle of past genres (the ’80s raunch-com, the ’30s screwball, the murder-mystery farce, the launchpads for established marquee names to level up) but hits each mark so delightfully, no longer have a chance to find an audience at all, much less one that would respond to it. Frankly, it’s a minor miracle this exists at all. A complete willingness to creatively bring this market and get it in front of people dooms not only this movie but every one just like it. Unless you want nothing but franchises aimed at 11-year-olds, you’ll soon be out of luck. It’s. A. Huge. Fucking. Loss. And not just for those of those who live, breathe, eat, sleep and love movies.

Watch this damn movie. And tell your friends about it.

Mondo Purchased From Alamo Drafthouse by Funko

Well, this is a hell of a thing to dig into first thing Monday morning.

Enough that I had to dust off the blog.

Let’s get into the key snippets…

Variety:

Funko is popping cult-fave pop-culture brand Mondo into its merch mix.

Under a deal with indie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse, Funko acquired Mondo, which creates and sells vinyl records and soundtracks, posters, toys, apparel, books, games and other collectibles. About 30 Mondo employees are joining Funko.

Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but it’s obviously not massive. Funko says it does not expect the Mondo acquisition to have a material impact on its financial performance in 2022.

Alamo Drafthouse:

Driven by passion, Mondo’s core team of creatives transformed that small ticket booth into something none of us could have ever imagined. Nineteen years into the journey, I look back at the amazing body of work that Mondo has created in posters, soundtracks, and collectibles and am truly in awe. I couldn’t be more proud of the amazing team that has over and over again set a staggeringly high bar for imagination, quality, and beauty.

That said, the past two years have been brutal and harrowing at Alamo and Mondo. We filed bankruptcy and thankfully emerged from COVID in fighting shape, ready to continue our mission of being the best damn cinema that has ever or will ever exist. While we were closed, however, Mondo was our saving grace, the only facet of our business that kept the lights on.

Now, with the dark days behind us and each weekend bringing box office successes, Alamo is seizing opportunities to grow our cinema footprint with seven new locations across the country that have been announced recently and more to come. As the company resources are focused on this growth, we realized that perhaps a bold and exciting new chapter is about to begin for Mondo.

Over the past few months, we searched exhaustively to find a perfect partner who saw what was unique and special about Mondo and was in a position to meaningfully invest in Mondo, nurture the team, and further its reach and vision. Funko is exactly that unicorn.

The team that made Mondo amazing is staying together, making the transition to Funko, and will continue their same work with the same creative vision. I am super excited about the future plans I know about, and I’m sure I will soon marvel at the work that is not yet even a lightbulb spark.

Mondo:

For 20 years, we have poured our heart and souls into this weird little thing that Rob Jones and Tim League started in a closet in the corner of an Alamo Drafthouse lobby… then out of a closet underneath the seats of a Drafthouse auditorium (seriously). Eventually, we opened our own gallery space, and even started our own convention.

We have always loved following our passions and doing things our own way, and we’ll be forever thankful to the Alamo Drafthouse for supporting those passions and helping us grow into what we are today. But we needed a bigger boat… and that’s where Funko comes in. They understand what Mondo is today and are eager to help us become the company we want to be.

From the outside, Mondo might seem like it is changing… but on the inside much is staying the same. We remain the same team, and our goals remain unchanged. We are still the same bunch of weirdos who share an undying obsession with popular (and maybe less popular) culture, and a craving to make cool stuff with the best artists in the world.

Lord knows I’ve spent enough of the past 14 years on this site worshiping the creations of the team at Mondo, so I had to dig in.

At its core, this isn’t a horrible pairing. Mondo lives and dies by their ability to get licenses, Funko has all the licenses.

The bigger concern is one of quality control. Funko is a very mass produced product. Mondo is not. Mondo is an artisan celebration of pop culture, with each artist selected and chosen specifically as a pairing.

Will this be able to remain the status quo with this purchase? My cynical side says no, but I’m very willing (if not wanting) to be wrong.

Let’s see how this plays out.