The Birth and Death of MoviePass 2.0, in two posts

Insider:

MoviePass, the troubled movie-ticket-subscription service that shut down in 2019, is planning a comeback.

Stacy Spikes, the MoviePass founding CEO, announced during an event on Thursday that the service would relaunch this summer.

Spikes said that the goal is for MoviePass to be responsible for 30% of movie-ticket sales nationwide by 2030.

HELL YEAH, I loved MoviePass! Let’s burn more capital funds for free movies!


Vice:

The new MoviePass is leaning into all the latest Silicon Valley buzzwords—web3, wallets, and play to earn schemes. Spikes—wearing the standard black turtleneck, jeans, and tennis shoes associated with Steve Jobs and Elizabeth Holmes—announced that MoviePass is moving towards a system where people watch ads to earn virtual currency that they then spend on movies.

“It’s a way to close that loop and make it far more efficient of a system,” Spikes said. “I want to be able to see it for free. Advertisers have put a pre-show together not unlike what you’d normally see when you go to a movie theater but this is customized for you.”

Spikes said that all of this will happen locally on the users phone. “Part of the direction we’re doing from a web3 perspective is, this is happening only on your phone, uniquely to you, and the credits that are earned are your credits that go into your virtual wallet that you get to spend,” he said. “So it’s your own money.”

The new MoviePass will also use your phone’s cameras to make sure that you’re actually watching the ads. “As I’m looking at it, it’s playing back. But if I stop and I’m not paying attention to it, it actually pauses the content,” Spikes said while watching an ad during the presentation. “We had an early version of this where you know what happened. People put the phone down and left and didn’t pay any attention to it. Right now 70 percent of video advertising is unseen. This is a way that advertisers get the impact they’re looking for but you’re also getting the impact yourself.”

Spikes described a world in which people could purchase products advertised to them directly through the MoviePass app and earn more credits towards free films. He also said MoviePass will open up some of the company to equity investment from members. Buy a big enough stake in the company and you earn benefits, including a lifetime membership.

Oh holy fucking shit no

THE END (for now) Is Here: JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION Trailer

This summer, experience the epic conclusion to the Jurassic era as two generations unite for the first time. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are joined by Oscar®-winner Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill in Jurassic World Dominion, a bold, timely and breathtaking new adventure that spans the globe.

From Jurassic World architect and director Colin Trevorrow, Dominion takes place four years after Isla Nublar has been destroyed. Dinosaurs now live—and hunt—alongside humans all over the world. This fragile balance will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history’s most fearsome creatures.

Much like with the original teaser for Jurassic World, the sad version of John Williams’ iconic theme is doing a lot of heavy lifting here, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t really effective as a trailer.

Also, why did some sequences feel like they came out of Mission: Impossible, but with dinosaurs?

Jurassic World Dominion hits theaters on June 10, 2022.

Hulu to Revive FUTURAMA for a Third Run

Variety:

Good news, everyone! “Futurama” is being revived at Hulu.

Variety has learned that the streaming service has ordered 20 new episodes of the adult animated sci-fi comedy series. The revival hails from David X. Cohen and Matt Groening. Cohen developed the original series with Groening, the series creator.

Original series cast members Billy West, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr and David Herman will all return. John DiMaggio, who voiced Bender and several minor characters, is not currently attached. According to an individual with knowledge of the project, the producers are hopeful DiMaggio will return. Should that not happen, Bender will be recast.

I have to be honest — the Comedy Central return was mixed, and the idea of a DiMaggio-less Futurama is not one I want to see.

BUT!

If Hulu can revive Futurama half as well as they revived Animaniacs, this could be great.

We’ll see in 2023.


An aside, I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out my new favorite correction, direct from the Variety story:

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Leela as an alien. She is in fact a sewer mutant. The error has been corrected. 


EDIT:

An update on John DiMaggio’s deal…

Entertainment Weekly:

Hulu and 20th Television Animation went out to West, Sagal, and DiMaggio at the same time last year to begin negotiations. This is an example of “favored nations,” which is a pretty standard negotiation process in the animation field that seeks to pay series regulars the same. The goal was to close those deals before reaching out to other voice actors from the original show. 

According to sources, an offer was extended to all three actors. West and Sagal accepted. DiMaggio’s team did not, seeing it as a lowball and not competitive to the market or the legacy of Futurama. One source suggests the favored nations process fell apart with West and Sagal taking the offer without consulting DiMaggio. Another source refutes that notion. 

DiMaggio’s side counter-offered with more competitive quotes, but some sources suggest conversations with the studio ended in November and have not progressed since. 

A search for a replacement voice actor is still ongoing, while the offer for DiMaggio to return remains on the table for the time being, EW has learned. The studio doesn’t want to pay DiMaggio more than West and Sagal, which contributes to the standstill.

Maybe I’m naive, but, uh…up Billy West, Katie Sagal and John DiMaggio’s numbers and get this thing done?

A New LIGHTYEAR Trailer Takes Flight

Every hero has a beginning. Go on an intergalactic adventure with Disney and Pixar’s #Lightyear this June 17, 2022.

“Lightyear” is the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear—the hero who inspired the toy—follows the legendary Space Ranger on an intergalactic adventure. “Buzz’s world was always something I was excited about,” said director Angus MacLane. “In ‘Toy Story,’ there seemed to be this incredible backstory to him being a Space Ranger that’s only touched upon, and I always wanted to explore that world further. So my ‘Lighytear’ pitch was, ‘What was the movie that Andy saw that made him want a Buzz Lightyear toy?’ I wanted to see that movie. And now I’m lucky enough to get to make it.”

Joining the previously announced Chris Evans, who lends his voice to Buzz, are Keke Palmer, Dale Soules and Taika Waititi as a group of ambitious recruits. Peter Sohn voices Buzz’s robot companion, Sox, and the cast also includes the voices of Uzo Aduba, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez and Isiah Whitlock Jr. “The cast for ‘Lightyear’ is truly a dream team,” said MacLane. “Each of the performers immediately inhabited their character, which gave us the opportunity to play a bit during recording sessions. This resulted in a level of specificity that elevated the material and brought additional depth to the characters’ relationships. It has been a privilege to work with such a talented and generous cast.”

Honestly, even if they had to do it with an established character in Buzz Lightyear, I can’t wait to see Pixar unleashed with a sci-fi epic.

Also, that voice cast is pretty stellar.

See you in June…hopefully in theaters.