Netflix, As MPAA Member, Will Benefit From Access To China, Says Charles Rivkin – CinemaCon

Among the terms the studios have been understood to be desirous of are another increase in the number of films officially allowed into the market on an annual basis as well as a hike in the share of turnstiles.
Overall, the MPAA's previous five-year agreement with China (which pre-dates Netflix's membership) went into effect in February 2012, when the number of quota films was increased as was the revenue share, which was upped to 25%.
The deal excluded mainland China where Youku retained dibs. The company in February acquired global SVOD rights to this year's mega-blockbuster The Wandering Earth. In 2017, it entered a licensing deal with iQiyi which has since expired. The streaming giant has been unable to crack the vast market with its online platform. This could potentially be good news for Netflix in China, if indeed it ever intends to go the theatrical route there.
The crackdown in the wake of the Fan Bingbing scandal has led to a production slowdown as local companies scramble to comply with government scrutiny. And with that, China this year is expected to need Hollywood product more than ever to fill its screens. Already in the past two years, it has gone beyond the contractual 34-film quota floor, granting access to a greater number of studio movies in the fourth quarter.” />
A new set of terms has been stalled amid Donald Trump’s on-and-off trade war with the Middle Kingdom, but a "hopeful" Rivkin said today that it is "in the interest of both countries to find a resolution," particularly as China's box office has grown so exponentially.
Netflix, he said, is "plugged into this agreement" given its MPAA status, but Rivkin also noted it would depend on what the streamer's "theatrical policies might be" for the market. As an official member of the MPAA, Netflix "will benefit from Chinese access, if they wish to go into the market," MPAA chief Charles Rivkin told Deadline today. Rivkin was addressing ongoing discussions surrounding a new film agreement with the Middle Kingdom, saying the contract "is being reexamined" and that the USTR is negotiating directly with the Chinese government.

Can There Really Be Too Many Movies? In The Streaming Era, Maybe.

But I’m beginning to wonder if the studio types didn’t have a point.
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That group’s 2017 report found 777 domestic theatrical releases. If its new tally is also up 18 percent, the grand total will be something like 917. Boxofficemojo.com tracked 873 films last year, up 18 percent from 740 the year before, and the MPAA numbers have tended to run higher. When Charles Rivkin of the Motion Picture Association of America and John Fithian of the National Association of Theater Owners present their annual ‘state of the industry’ talk at CinemaCon next month, an accompanying statistical report will probably peg the number of domestic theatrical film releases at more than 900—twice what it was when the chiefs were complaining.
Of those, fewer than 100 will have taken in more than $25 million at the domestic box-office. Well over half will have had less than $200,000 in ticket sales, meaning they went to digital aggregators without ever making a noticeable impression on the public. The rest will live mainly on digital services, including streamers like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.
Whether this is good, bad, or indifferent is hard to say. But it’s bound to become a factor when governors of the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences soon consider whether Oscar-qualifying films should meet a new, higher theatrical release standard, in order to separate them from small-screen, digital entertainment.
They didn’t like the squeeze. When Warner Communications acquired Lorimar-Telepictures in 1989 and closed its prolific movie division, I can even remember one Warner film executive explaining: “It was our turn to take one down.”
But there’s something to be said for the theory that a stiff level of resistance in the film business, a relatively high bar, makes everyone work harder to get over it. A film that has to win a following in theaters—or, at the least, has to win Roma-like promotional backing from a streaming service like Netflix—is going to give a whole lot more than passing thought to its audience.
Just the other night I happily re-watched Sam Peckinpah’s Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia; and that one could hardly have done worse when United Artists released it in 1974.) (By that rule, some of my favorite movies would disappear. Certainly, nobody should, or could, be barred from making a movie just because no one wants to see it.
The extra thought, effort, investment, pain and suffering—not some lucky magic—is what makes a movie an event. And that, I suspect, will be on more than a few minds when the Academy governors find themselves deliberating the impact of streaming, even as industry counterparts are explaining, at CineCon, that the digitally-driven number of releases is fast approaching 1,000.
What those moguls meant was that upstart independents, fueled by easy bank lending, junk bonds, and a seemingly bottomless well of home video revenue, were crowding screens with a sudden flush of, say, 450 films annually. In the mid-1980s, a common complaint among studio film distribution executives claimed there were just too many movies.
 
The more the merrier! At the time, such thinking crossed my free-market, libertarian streak. Let a thousand flowers bloom, I said. If all those companies (many of which quickly went broke) made too many movies, that meant more money for talent, and more entertainment for the rest of us.
 

As Movies Become Commoditized, Toronto’s Search Engine Seeks True Love

Kind of like online dating, and about as likely to end in true love.” /> In business jargon, films are being “commoditized” — turned into nearly interchangeable products that can best be identified and delivered to their likely consumers by a Recommendation Engine.
“There’s no way anyone can see everything, so we created a tool to help film lovers catch up with films you may have missed,” Bailey explained in an introductory email. It’s little wonder that Cameron Bailey, artistic director and co-head of the Toronto International Film Festival, this week found himself introducing something called “The Recommendation Engine.” It is a search mechanism designed to help confused viewers sift through 300 or so movies from the this year's TIFF by asking them preference questions, then coughing up titles.
Very few — such as Crazy Rich Asians, I Can Only Imagine or Won’t You Be My Neighbor? — surprise by leaving a commercial or cultural mark. Most simply disappear into the stack, buried by the next wave of soon-to-be lost movies. But the problem is a little deeper than a surplus of choices or a dearth of viewing time. As films, many of them quite good, flood a market that has been opened wide by on-demand services, they get diluted.
Counts from the MPAA put the numbers even higher. By the association’s reckoning, domestic feature releases peaked at 777 last year, up 8 percent from 718 in 2016. Friday alone will bring at least nine new films, led by Warner's 4,000-screen-plus Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Apparently, Boxofficemojo.com missed a few. Sorting through the horror films, never mind the Marvel universe, I leave to someone else. But who can blame them at a time when many films are becoming an indistinguishable blur? The images from Beautiful Boy, Ben Is Back, Leave No Trace and even A Star Is Born — worthy films, all — run together in a confusing montage of love, damage and struggling relationships. await their more fictive follow-ups. Narrative films pile atop documentaries, as On the Basis of Sex chases RBG and Welcome to Marwen follows Marwencol, while Three Identical Strangers and Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
By the counts on Boxofficemojo.com, theatrical feature releases have reached 648 for the year. The commoditization of film continues apace. The 2018 total, if current patterns hold, would be about one-tenth of a movie short of 746, up slightly from 740 in 2017, a record for modern Hollywood. That’s about two films per day, a rate that promises another 98 movies by December 31, even if we don’t get a year-end rush.