Tag Archives: Netflix

Drake’s Hotline to Hollywood: Inside an Ambitious Push Into Film and TV

Stepping into Drake’s apartment on the 52nd floor of a Toronto high-rise, with sweeping, unobstructed views of the CN Tower and Lake Ontario in the distance, all is quiet, save for a large-screen TV playing nonstop coverage of Hurricane Irma on CNN. Though he no longer has a house in Miami, Drake is transfixed by the news. That’s just the way he approaches any subject that interests him. He dives deep, albeit on his own schedule. “This interview is kind of early for me,” he admits, though it’s presently 1:45 p.m. The night before, he started plowing through musical ideas — an instrumentation, a beat, an arrangement — well after midnight, and he didn’t stop until 10 a.m. “My wheels just start spinning faster than most people’s at that hour,” says the 31-year-old rapper-musician and former teen actor, dressed in a navy blue tracksuit and plain white Nikes. “It’s best for me to find an atmosphere that’s quiet. I don’t like a lot of people around when there’s a task at hand.”

Case in point, I find no entourage here, only longtime manager and business partner Adel “Future” Nur, 32 (not to be confused with Future, the Atlanta-born rapper). The duo is in their hometown of Toronto on this brisk September afternoon to debut their first movie as producers, The Carter Effect, a documentary about high-flying former NBA star Vince Carter, which is premiering at the Toronto Film Festival. The previous night, LeBron James swung into town to host a celebratory dinner at Drake’s pan-Asian restaurant Fring’s for a group of 30, including executives from HBO Sports and Universal Pictures and such stars as Idris Elba (who rolled in from his Molly’s Game premiere with an entourage of about 12). After heaping congratulations on his friend, James joked in a toast that they both now have “day jobs” — a reference to their budding Hollywood careers.

Drake is eager to talk about his ambitious push into film and TV, which includes teaming with Netflix to revive the critically acclaimed but short-lived British crime series Top Boy(think an across-the-pond version of The Wire). Drake and Future along with James’ SpringHill Entertainment will executive produce the series, which will go into production early next year for a 2019 debut. The pair also is shopping the Sean Menard-helmed Carter Effect, which also may land at Netflix. But the biggest indicator of Drake’s big Hollywood push is whom he is partnering with next: Steve Golin, who runs Anonymous Content (one of Hollywood’s hottest production houses and home of Spotlight and Mr. Robot), for an untitled TV series; film studio A24; and, perhaps most significantly, Apple, which has given him the go-ahead to produce whatever he chooses — at least, according to Jimmy Iovine — just as the cash-flush titan is poised to shake up the content space.

If some of the details seem vague, chalk it up to the fact that everything Drake touches becomes a news story or internet meme, with lengthy trademark battles ensuing. He once popularized the term “YOLO,” the acronym for “you only live once,” on “The Motto,” a bonus track from his 2011 album, Take Care. The term wound up on unauthorized clothing and merchandise and became a legal headache. That’s why he and Future won’t even divulge the name of their new company yet. Ditto for the specifics on their film and TV projects. Everything needs to be locked down first, including the rights to a magazine story that will serve as the basis of the Golin collaboration.

“When I get back into acting, I want to do things that make people go, ‘Wow, I didn’t expect that,’” says Drake.
Ruven Afanador
“When I get back into acting, I want to do things that make people go, ‘Wow, I didn’t expect that,’” says Drake.

Yet, despite all the monetary success, three Grammys and artistic cred, Drake possesses a self-deprecating streak, which throws me. The 15-foot white walls of his apartment are mostly bare, save for a neon art piece that says: “Less Drake, More Tupac,” from L.A. artist Patrick Martinez. “I love it,” he says of the piece that set him back a mere $6,000 but allows him to take a certain ownership of the haters, and there are many who think he’s not hard enough. “I mean, people are entitled to their opinion, but this opinion, I’d just rather it be here than anywhere else.”

If it were up to Hollywood, that art piece would simply read: “More Drake.” At a time when the film business is arguably broken, an increasingly bifurcated system of globally consumed tentpoles lacking any cultural specificity and small movies that fall into the ether, Hollywood certainly can learn something from the Drake model. “They’re really geniuses with the marketing of their music,” says Golin. “Their social media, the way they do all that, that’s very interesting to us. I’m kind of enamored of the way that they communicate and interact with their fans and their audience.” He also just finds them pleasant to be around. “There’s a lot of vain musicians at that age who are successful that I can’t deal with, but those guys are very accessible. Drake doesn’t mind when it comes to meetings and being involved; he wants to be proactive.”





NOT QUITE TWO years ago, Netflix launched simultaneouslyin 130 new countries. It now operates nearly everywhere in the world. With that expansion has come explosive international growth—along with the challenge of how best to introduce its homegrown favorites, like Stranger Things, to an audience that spans all the way to the Upside Down and back.

It’s hard to overstate how important it is to Netflix’s long-term ambitions that shows like Stranger Things “travel.” The streaming service needs to maintain a library that users will pay for year-round, and even with an original content budget pegged at $8 billion for 2018 it has to spend wisely to ensure it’s producing content that plays as well in Canada as it does in Cameroon. Or, from another angle: Not even Netflix has the budget to invest heavily in hyperlocal content for Estonia.

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Making movies or series that play well overseas depends to a certain extent on quality, of course, and Netflix has long maintained that geography is a poor indicator of what people will actually watch. But for a show like Stranger Things—which is an Emmy-nominated and critically-praised show in the US—to succeed abroad, Netflix has to translate its genius to as many markets as possible. Literally.

Found in Translation

The world contains thousands of languages. Figuring out the proper translation for “Demogorgon” in each of them would be singularly impractical. But for the 20 languages in which Netflix does provide subtitles—and the large number in which it dubs shows—it sweats the small stuff.

That means the creation of a Key Names and Phrases tool, a sprawling spreadsheet in which teams of freelancers and vendors input translations in the name of consistency. Does the show include a fictional location? A catchphrase? A sci-fi item that has no real-world corollary? All those things go in the KNP, allowing Netflix to know how they read in Greek, Spanish, Swedish, Vietnamese, and so on.

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Some translations are fairly straightforward; a university becomes a universidad for Spanish-language audiences, for example. Others, though, require substantially more legwork. Especially for a ’80s-reference-heavy series like Stranger Things that is fairly out of step with the present.

“It’s a really deep dive into what are the elements of the story, what are the specifics of the story, that we need to make sure we are translating the same way that things were translated, say, 30 years ago,” says Denny Sheehan, the director of Netflix’s content localization and quality control efforts. “We compile all of that into essentially a show bible, and we give that to all of our translators, all of our dub studios, so they can reference that.”

Take that Demogorgon, the big bad the Stranger Things kids named after a Dungeons & Dragons demon prince. To ensure that connection transcended language barriers, Sheehan’s team dug into old D&D materials to nail down how various cultures translated “Demogorgon” in the mid-1970s. Similar efforts were made to track down decades-old marketing materials for, yes, Eggo waffles, which play an outsized role in Season 1.

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That focus on consistency goes beyond the words themselves to the voice actors saying them. Netflix says it looks for people who sound like the original cast but also, as Sheehan puts it, “embody the spirit of the character and tone.” No real surprise there. But the company also aims for voices that can work across titles. The actress who voices Winona Ryder’s Joyce Byers in Stranger Things, for instance, also provides the dubs for Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice, and Mina Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

“We think of the subtitles and dubs as enabling access to the story,” Sheehan says. “Our goal is to use creative intent as the North Star, to really create culturally relevant and resonant translations for the continent that have a wide global appeal.”

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‘Defenders’ Ranks Among Netflix’s Most Binge-Watched Shows

The old way of watching television shows is being replaced by the wide world of binging. Sites like Netflix and Hulu have made it easy for audiences to consume shows in a weekend if they so please, and it seems plenty of people did just that for Marvel’s The Defenders.

Thanks to a new report, Netflix has confirmed its latest Marvel series managed to charm fans when it dropped. The site released its list of most binge-watched original series, and The Defenders came in at third place.

The superhero miniseries pulled ahead of some major competitors to steal third place. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life managed to come in on top with Fuller House trailing behind it, but shows like The Ranch and even Orange Is The New Black failed to take over Daredevil’s new posse.

You can check out the study’s full list of binge-friendly shows below:

  • Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
    Fuller House
    Marvel’s The Defenders
    The Seven Deadly Sins
    The Ranch
    Santa Clarita Diet
    Trailer Park Boys
    F is for Family
    Orange Is the New Black
    Stranger Things
    Friends from College
    Grace and Frankie
    Wet Hot American Summer
    Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
    House of Cards
    Chewing Gum
    Master of None

According to Netflix, The Defenders really shined in one market; The site says Korea took a liking to the series the country had the most binge-watchers eyeing The Defenders than any other country. When it comes to the U.S., it seems Netflix subscribers are sending that kind of love to House of Cards.



Netflix Will Get The New SHAFT Two Weeks After It Hits Theaters

We’ve known for some time that a new Shaft was in the works, one that would find Samuel L. Jackson returning to the role he played in John Singleton’s 2000 film…along with Shaft’s son, to be played by Jessie T. Usher. What we didn’t know, apparently, was that New Line has been working on a deal with Netflix to co-finance the film, one that will result in a most unusual rollout.

Says Deadline:

“Sources say that New Line and Netflix are nearly closed on the untitled Shaft reboot. Netflix will pay more than half the film’s high $30 million budget, in exchange for international rights and the ability to put the film on its streaming outside the U.S. two weeks after New Line releases theatrically in the United States. The film will begin production in December.”

Yes, Netflix and New Line are splitting the cost on the next Shaft (which, by the way, will be directed by Tim Story and written by Kenya Barris), ponying up $15M apiece to make the film a reality. Two weeks after New Line puts the film into theaters, Netflix will debut the film on their omnipresent streaming service.

One suspects this will only add further fuel to the “Is Netflix destroying cinema?” argument, but let’s be honest: are you in the mood to have that particular argument today? Maybe let’s table that one for now.

Or maybe not. If you feel like parsing through this, feel free to hit the comments below. Everyone else should standby for further Untitled Shaft Movie updates as they become available.



‘The Originals’ Season 5 Spoilers News: Marcel Has a Huge Surprise for Klaus in Premiere

Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) has not forgotten his vendetta against Klaus (Joseph Morgan) in the upcoming final season of “The Originals.”

Spoilers for the new installment reveal that the former allies will once again be each other’s greatest enemy. Marcel is obviously still not over his hatred for his sire after what he and his family did to Davina (Danielle Campbell). Although their fight was put on hold because of The Hollow, it is expected to continue now that the dark force is safely locked inside the Originals’ bodies. The trailer hinted of Marcel’s next plan to take down Klaus, and it may or may not involve Elijah (Daniel Gillies).

Since Elijah was one of the Mikaelsons who holds part of The Hollow’s soul, he is supposed to stay away from the rest of his family for all eternity. He has willed himself to forget everything to stop himself from searching for them. Marcel appears to be taking advantage of his predicament. He will come to see Elijah to urge him to return to New Orleans and reunite with his brother. The promo suggests that Marcel will succeed, thus the surprise on Klaus’ face when Elijah suddenly turns up in one of the bars in the city.

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Meanwhile, spoilers reveal that there is still a chance that Elijah and Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) will end up together. Executive producer Julie Plec has revealed that they are still rooting for the couple. Although Hayley and Elijah may not be together in the first part of the final season, they may still end up with each other in the end. While waiting for that moment, Hayley will try to distract herself from negative thoughts by dating a human named Declan (Torrance Coombs).

“I love Hayley and Elijah and I do hope they can find peace in eternity,” Plec told the audience at the San Diego Comic-Con. “I don’t know how quickly that will be able to happen, but it’s not something that I take lightly.”

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“The Originals” season 5 will air sometime in 2018.



Stranger Things Season 2 Story Revolves Around the ‘Shadow Monster’

Stranger Things showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer tease story details for season 2, including that the mystery surrounds a shadow monster. Season 1 of Stranger Thingsdebuted on Netflix last summer, unraveling the mysterious disappearance of Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), the appearance of a young telekinetic girl named Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), and the supernatural creature called the Demogorgon in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s. Viewers fell in love with the Goonies-like band of kids at the core of Stranger Things – which includes Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) – as they tried to find their friend and fight the Demogorgon.

The series also followed Will’s mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) as she worked with police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) to find her son, while Will’s brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Mike’s sister Nancy (Natalia Dyer) conducted their own investigation into the Demogorgon and the Upside Down. Season 2 of Stranger Things, which has been given the theatrical moniker of Stranger Things 2, will introduce some new players to Hawkins, including Sean Astin’s Bob Newby, Sadie Sink’s Max and Dacre Montgomery’s Billy. Now, some of the major characters of Stranger Things 2 grace the covers of EW’s latest issue, while the Duffers reveal new details about the season.


While talking to EW, the Duffer brothers revealed the season 2 mystery will revolve around something called the “shadow monster” – a massive creature that appears to Will in a PTSD-like vision of the Upside Down, which were teased in the Stranger Things season 1 finale. Ross explained, “It’s all connected to this singular threat, which is tied into this shape that Will sees in the sky.” Matt went on to say of the entire nine-hour season, “Each episode is building on the last one. It gets much crazier than it ever got in season one.” Take a look at the Stranger Things EW covers in the gallery below.



Netflix adds HDR support for iPhone X and iPad Pro

Netflix already streams HDR video on the new Apple TV 4K, so it only makes sense for the company to add support for Apple’s HDR-ready iOS devices as well. The latest update for Netflix’s app does just that, so you’ll be able to watch movies and TV shows with high dynamic range on the iPad Pro (10.5-inch and 2017 12.9-inch) and the upcoming iPhone X.

If you’re unsure of what content is available in HDR, the easiest way to find something to watch is to just search for “HDR” right in Netflix. The selection consists entirely of Netflix’s original shows, documentaries, and movies.



‘Stranger Things’ Writer Justin Doble Moves to Amazon Studios

Stranger Things writer-producer Justin Doble has signed an overall deal with the company, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Through the pact, Doble will develop genre TV projects for Amazon prime video.

“We have long admired Justin’s ability to create stories and characters that stoke fans’ passion,” said Amazon Studios’ head of event series Sharon Tal Yguado. “He has contributed to some of the best genre out there, and we are excited to collaborate with him as we build a slate of high-profile shows.”

Doble comes to Amazon after two seasons on Netflix’s breakout hit, for which he also earned two Writers Guild Award nominations. Prior to that, Doble wrote for The Path, Into the Badlands and Fringe, where he got his start as part of the Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop. He is repped by UTA and The Shuman Company.


Doble’s deal comes as Amazon looks to redefine its original series slate and launch the next global hit a la HBO’s critical and commercial smash Game of Thrones. Recent original series at the company have launched to minor buzz, and Amazon earned only 15 Emmy nominations. compared with Netflix’s whopping 91 nominations and 20 wins. Another rival, Hulu, was the first-ever streamer to win a best series Emmy award for drama The Handmaid’s Tale, in addition to nine other wins. Amazon won two.

In recent weeks, Amazon has canceled several series, including pricey period dramas Z: The Beginning of Everything and The Last Tycoon. Its upcoming series include the Jack Ryan TV reboot from Carlton Cuse; Matthew Weiner’s Romanoffs anthology series, said to have cost the company $75 million; and a David O. Russell original series starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore that earned a two-season pickup at the company.



Pablo Escobar’s Brother Wants Netflix To Provide Cartel Hitmen As Bodyguards For ‘Narcos’

Following the death of Carlos Muñoz, a 37-year-old locations manager on Narcos who was found dead in his car in Mexico last week, the brother of drug lord Pablo Escobar wants Netflix to provide hitmen as bodyguards.

“You have to eliminate all threats,” Roberto De Jesus Escobar Gaviria, who worked as an accountant for the Medellín Cartel (he was also employed as the “chief of the hitmen”), told The Hollywood Reporter. “When I was walking in the jungle one day, I had a bag with $2 million in $100 bills. The army was searching for me and Pablo at this time. Suddenly, we are being shot at.”

He continued, “Both me and Pablo, along with a few security people, start running towards a small channel of water, we swim away. This was all done without guns. If you have the intellect, you don’t need to use weapons. If not, you have to. In this case, Netflix should provide hitmen to their people as security.”

This isn’t the first time Escobar Gaviria has voiced his frustration with Netflix. In 2016, the founder of Escobar Inc. demanded $1 billion from the streaming service for unauthorized usage of content. “To this date, I am one of the few survivors of the Medellin cartel,” he wrote, “and I was Pablo’s closest ally, managing his accounting and he is my brother for life. I think nobody else in the world is alive to determine the validity of the materials, but me.”

He told The Hollywood Reporter that “Netflix is scared,” and that “they sent us a long letter to threaten us.” Escobar Gaviria, who claims to “own all the trademarks to all of our names and also for the Narcos brand,” added, “Right now, we are in discussions with them through our attorneys [to] obtain our $1 billion payment. If we don’t receive it, we will close their little show.”

Billon dollar lawsuits, drug lords, and hitmen bodyguards? Lady Dynamite is going through the exact same thing.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)

Stranger Things Season 2 Will Put Eleven On An Emotional Rollercoaster

If you’re waiting around for Stranger Things Season 2 and are hoping for some tidbits to tide you over, Matt and Ross Duffer spoke with TVLine’s Michael Ausiellolast night at the Emmy Awards red carpet event. The creators and executive producers for the series teased a bit about the upcoming sophomore season for the Netflix hit series.

Stranger Things

Starting off, they talk about Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and how her journey this season will be very different — besides the fact that she will have hair and be able to complete sentences. It’s going to be more of an emotional rollercoaster in the second season, as she will basically be going through adolescence while having powers.

They did confirm that there will be justice for Barb in the new season, but actress Shannon Purser will not be returning. Barb is dead; she’s not coming back and there won’t be flashbacks or ghost appearances. Barb will be talked about, but she’ll get no screen time. The Byers got Will (Noah Schnapp) back, but the Hollands didn’t get their daughter back, and we’ll get to see the repercussions from that with them and Nancy (Natalia Dyer).

As for as how long the series will go, don’t expect it to be around forever. They have a specific place in mind where they are going to end it, and they don’t feel that the story justifies that long of a run. Maybe four or five seasons at the most is the impression the Duffers give — definitely not six.

Don’t expect a big cliffhanger ending to the second season, either.

 Stranger Things Season 2 will debut October 27 on Netflix.



It’s Official: ‘Star Wars,’ Marvel Movies Leaving Netflix for Disney Streaming Service

The announcement that Disney is launching its own streaming service sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry, as that new venture came with the caveat that Disney was pulling its content from Netflix in 2019. What was uncertain, was whether that mandate included content from Disney’s Marvel and Lucasfilm brands – but now we have the official answer on that front.

Deadline reports that Disney has decided to pull both Marvel and Star Wars content from Netflix in 2019, as was revealed by Disney CEO Bob Iger in a recent investor meeting.


According Iger, the plan for Disney’s streaming service is “We’re going to launch big, and we’re going to launch hot.” He added that the app, “will have the entire output of the studio — animation, live action and Disney including Pixar, Star Wars and all of the Marvel films.

That library includes exclusively offering the full lineup of Disney properties on the service (500 films and 7,000 TV episodes), in addition to four or five original TV series and three or four original movies. An expansive lineup of short form content is also expected, and the digital service will be used as the exclusive distribution platform for lower-budgeted films (no more risky theatrical premieres).

While Disney’s service sounds impressive, it does leave us with one big question:

Marvel Star Wars Movies Leaving Netflix 2019

What Does This Mean for Netflix?

How Disney’s launch will impact other major streaming services is a big, looming question – especially for Netflx. Netflix has clearly benefited from having big Marvel and Star Wars movies offered on the service, but since the companies ratings and returns are largely unknown to the public, we have no real measurement for just how much Marvel and Star Wars features pull in, in terms of viewers, and what that loss will mean for Netflix’s bottom line. 

This question gets even more expansive when you factor in all the Disney movies and TV content that is offered through the services. Families with children aged toddler to teen would arguably have much more incentive to pay for a Disney streaming service that could offer animated fare and TV content for kids, and fantastical superhero and sci-fi content for teens, than the more adult offerings of Netflix. Indeed: the “Kids” section of Netflix’s service is probably in the biggest danger from this new Disney venture. 

For now, you can still catch all your Marvel and Stars Wars movies on Netflix. The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues with Thor: Ragnarok on November 3rd; the Star Wars saga continues with The Last Jedi on December 15, 2017.



First ‘Wheelman’ Teaser: Frank Grillo Is a Getaway Driver in Netflix Film

Netflix has unveiled the first teaser for Wheelman, the upcoming original film that stars Frank Grillo (The Purge: Anarchy) as a getaway driver. Written and directed by Jeremy Rush and produced by Grillo and Joe Carnahan (The Grey), much of the film takes place inside the confines of a single vehicle, as Grillo’s getaway driver is thrust into a race for survival after a bank robbery goes wrong. He has a car full of money and a family on the line, and he must figure out who double crossed him before it’s too late.

This teaser gives a strong feel for the vibe of the film here, with fast editing that provides a rhythm to the action. No doubt Wheelman is very little like Baby Driver, but I’ll be curious to see if the success of the Edgar Wright film carries over into heightened interest in this more gritty version of a getaway driver movie. Carnahan exclusively told us that Wheelman is very much a father-daughter story disguised as an action film, with roots in movies like Vanishing PointBullitt, and The Driver, and that’s certainly on display in this here teaser.

'Captain America: Civil War' film premiere, Los Angeles, America - 12 Apr 2016

The film also stars Garret Dillahunt and Caitlin Carmichael and hits Netflix on October 20th.



‘The Defenders’: Charlie Cox on What’s Next For Daredevil

The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen is dead — or so the world thinks.

In the final episode of Marvel’s The Defenders, the very first hero featured in Netflix’s corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ended things in a dire situation: trapped beneath an exploding building, almost certainly consumed in the rubble. The people who know Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) best believe him dead, including Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) and Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), as well as the hero’s three newest friends: Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Danny Rand (Finn Jones). Indeed, in that last person’s case, Rand stands poised to honor his fallen friend by protecting Hell’s Kitchen in Daredevil’s absence.

But Daredevil will only be absent for so long. In the final scene of The Defenders, we see that Matt is very much still alive, albeit in rough physical condition, recovering in an unknown location where he’s being tended by nuns. It’s an image that’s familiar to fans of the Daredevil comics (as pointed out by Decider), and one that’s sure to fuel the character’s next steps forward in the Marvel-Netflix Universe.

For more on the matter, Charlie Cox spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about Daredevil’s fate, what’s coming next, Matt’s emotional journey via Elektra (Elodie Yung) this season, his view of The Defenders now that it’s out in the wild, and more.

What was your reaction when you learned that this series would end with Matt presumed dead, but secretly alive somewhere?

I was relieved! It was made easier to read that, knowing we have a season three of Daredevil to shoot. (Laughs.) If that hadn’t been the case, I would have been worried that it was all over for Matt Murdock. Being as it was, I thought it was very fun. It was a very interesting way to end it. It’s kind of a cliffhanger, and kind of not. I don’t know what it means for season three, going forward for Matt. It obviously presents him with some pretty interesting options when he reengages with life. Will he reconnect with people? Will he find Foggy and let him know he’s okay? Will he not? I’m very excited to find out what his game plan is going to be, once he gets his shit together.


What’s your feeling on how that will play out? Matt has been craving a fresh start for a while, and even begins The Defenders away from the role of Daredevil. What does a clean slate like this mean for a man like Matt Murdock?

I honestly have no idea. Whenever I think I know where something’s going or what something’s going to mean, I’m often completely wrong and surprised by the scripts when I read them. I almost prefer not to speculate. God knows. I could see it going many different ways for him. As you mentioned, he’s been struggling with who he is, or at least this aspect of himself, being Daredevil and engaging in vigilante justice on a regular basis. I can’t personally see a world where he’ll ever rid himself of that, despite the attempts to hang up the horns, as it were. At some point, one of two things is going to happen: either he’s going to embrace it in a way he never has before, or he’s going to continue to fight it. But at some point, “it” will probably win over.



Netflix’s ‘Marvel’s The Defenders’ Poised for Binge-Viewing

There are no standard “ratings” for Netflix. But “Marvel’s The Defenders,” the streamer’s newest original series in the street-hero franchise, could be one of its biggest hits ever, independent research indicates.

The four preceding Marvel series leading up to “Defenders” — “Daredevil” season 2, “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist” — were among the top five most-viewed recently released Netflix originals in the first 30 days after their premieres, according to data from marketing-analytics firm Jumpshot, provided exclusively to Variety. Teen-suicide drama “13 Reasons Why” took the No. spot.

It seems safe to predict that “The Defenders,” as the culminating mashup with each of the four characters uniting against a common enemy, will turn in similar binge-heavy viewership as well. Netflix released all eight episodes of the limited series at 12:01 a.m. PT Friday. The show stars Charlie Cox (Daredevil), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), Mike Colter (Luke Cage) and Finn Jones (Iron Fist).

The analysis from Jumpshot shows the relative number of U.S. Netflix viewers who watched at least one episode of each series. The data is presented as a index, benchmarked against the most-viewed Netflix original in the comparison, “Daredevil” season 2. For example, “13 Reasons Why,” the second most-viewed premier in the first 30 days, garnering 48% of the viewers that “Daredevil 2” received.

Of the series studied, “13 Reasons Why” was the only Netflix original that showed any growth in week-over-week viewership in the first month of release, with an 18% increase from week one to week two. That reflects strong word-of-mouth buzz for the controversial show.

“Stranger Things” was the seventh most-viewed Netflix original premiere in its first 30 days, but it had the lowest week-over-week decline in viewership, per the Jumpshot data. It’s not a surprise that shows see a viewing drop-off after the first week, given Netflix’s binge-friendly release strategy.


Netflix’s ‘Marvel’s The Defenders’ Poised for Binge-Viewing Pop, Data Indicates

Netflix in Talks With Disney on Marvel, ‘Star Wars’ Movies for 2019 and Beyond

Netflix isn’t going to get Disney’s “Frozen 2,” but it’s not yet frozen out of potentially getting streaming rights to Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars” franchise and Marvel Entertainment movies.

Netflix remains in “active discussions” with Disney about a deal for Lucasfilm and Marvel titles after the companies’ current movie-output deal expires in 2019, chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in an interview with Reuters.

On Tuesday, Disney said it plans to introduce its own direct-to-consumer Disney-branded subscription VOD service in 2019; it’s also looking to roll out an ESPN over-the-top streaming service in early 2018.

The Disney OTT service will exclusively offer movies from Pixar and Disney studios starting with 2019 releases — so Netflix won’t have those. But Disney has yet to decide whether it will re-up with Netflix for the Marvel and Lucasfilm lines. Those could be bundled into in the Disney-branded service, broken into their own subscription VOD services, or licensed to a third party — whether that’s Netflix, HBO, or another partner.

Sarandos told Reuters that Disney’s streaming service was a “natural evolution” for media companies and opined that the Mouse House’s OTT offerings will be “complementary” to Netflix. The exec added, “That’s why we got into the originals business five years ago, anticipating [negotiations to license content] may be not as easy a conversation with studios and networks.”

Netflix and Disney inked the licensing pact for the U.S. pay-TV window in 2012, under which Netflix secured streaming rights to the Mouse House’s films starting with 2016 releases. Netflix has had a similar “pay one” agreement for Disney titles in Canada starting with 2015 releases.

Disney’s 2019 theatrical slate includes the second “Frozen” movie, “Toy Story 4” and a live-action version of “The Lion King” from the Disney and Pixar lines.

Shares of Netflix dropped after Disney announced the plans for its direct-to-consumer streaming services and ending the deal with Netflix for Disney and Pixar films. After hitting record highs last month, Netflix’s stock has dropped 7% since Monday.

Separately from the Disney movie pact, Netflix has an extensive, multiyear deal with Marvel for original series based on Marvel’s street-hero characters, including “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist.”


Netflix in Talks With Disney on Marvel, ‘Star Wars’ Movies for 2019 and Beyond

How Netflix can spawn a Marvel-style Millarworld superhero universe

Netflix has grand ambitions for Millarworld, the Scottish comic book company it acquired this week. The aim is to repeat Disney’s success with Marvel, where the creator of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy has become a launchpad for multibillion-dollar film franchises.

Here are four ways in which Netflix can make a global success of Millarworld properties, a job made tougher as the deal does not include founder Mark Millar’s best-known properties: Kick-Ass and Kingsman.

1. Create a superhero universe

The latest trend in Hollywood is to create a “universe” from a group of characters. Disney has the Avengers ensemble, which includes characters such as Captain America, Thor and Iron Man – who also have their own standalone films. This is not about flogging a concept through a series of sequels but building up a series of characters that can flit across multiple films (and probably TV series in the case of Netflix). Warner Brothers is tapping into this approach by expanding its DC Comics heroes – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman – into a universe under the Justice League banner. Universal is developing its so-called “dark universe” of monster films ranging from The Mummy, the Invisible Man, and Dracula to vampire hunter Van Helsing.

Millarworld has so far developed 18 character franchises. Three of these – Wanted, Kick-Ass and Kingsman – have so far made the successful jump to the big screen grossing about $1bn (£770m) at the box office. However, Kingsman and Kick-Ass are licensed to other producers. Netflix releases films in cinemas but its main business is streaming content to subscribers so it referred to TV series and kids’ shows as well as films.

Netflix is banking on Millarworld introducing viewers to a new universe of hitherto unknown worlds – with franchises including Jupiter’s Legacy about a dysfunctional superhero family, a gifted petrol station worker called Huck and Duke McQueen, “a space age hero who may be a little past his prime” – that will become household names.

Like Disney’s Avengers, Millar says the “vast tapestry of characters and superteams” all tie together, which Netflix will convert into a range of TV and film projects for its more than 100m global subscribers. 


2. Ensure Millarworld’s output has international appeal

Disney had the luxury of building the Marvel hit factory selectively from a world of 5,000 characters, many of whom were not seen worthy of development when the company was acquired for $4bn in 2009. Millarworld is a smaller canvas. 

Millarworld’s creations are not well known cinematically on the global stage and it is superbrands such as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Avengers that have driven more than $12bn in box office takings alone for Disney.

Well-established brand characters are still no guarantee of success. Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern, made by Warner Bros, and The Fantastic Four, made by 20th Century Fox, both flopped. 

Even Millar’s biggest hit has struggled to make it to maintain its momentum.Matthew Vaughan, director of the hit adaptation of Kick-Ass, said that the sequel “lost a few fans”.

3. Talent retention and character development

Mark Millar operates Millarworld as something of a collective of creators but the name above the door is his – he and his wife, Lucy, jointly own the Glasgow-based company. Netflix chiefs have heaped praise on Millar calling him “as close as you can get to a modern-day Stan Lee”, the Marvel executive and legendary creator of some of the biggest superheroes in print and film including Spiderman, Iron Man, X-Men, Hulk and Thor.


Millar has proven he has the Marvel midas touch, after an eight-year stint at the business. While there, he developed the comic books and story arcs that inspired the Avengers film, Captain America: Civil War and the recent Wolverine movie, Logan.



‘The Defenders’ is the Marvel team-up you hoped for — Iron Fist and all

“The Defenders” is the type of superhero streaming that we’ve come to expect from Netflix’s live-action Marvel productions. Well worth the wait, the new show is every bit the event that Marvel fans hoped it could be.  

The coming together of the streaming service’s four superhero shows — each with varying styles on how to be a hero — works in part because of how they focus on why such a get-together shouldn’t work at all.

But before Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones) team up to defend New York City, the producers of the show divide the four into pairs.

Matt Murdock is still reeling from the pain of losing the woman he loved, Elektra (more on that later), and has left his Daredevil/vigilante days behind to focus on being the best lawyer possible. And who should end up needing a good, affordable attorney? Jessica Jones. (Jones is on the bad side of Misty Knight, played by Simone Missick. Could Misty have a future as a Defender, too?)


Murdock and Jones butt heads from the start as they realize they’re both investigating something that connects to an evil scheme too big for the both of them.

That something is Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra, who may be the biggest surprise of “The Defenders.” She’s a compelling villain with a mysterious past that borders on the unbelievable — we can’t say more than that without giving too much away.



Will Smith on Jumping to Netflix: ‘You Almost Can’t Make New Movie Stars Anymore’

Comic-Con’s biggest stage used to be dominated by movie blockbusters, though lately, it’s been reserved far more often for high-profile TV titles. It’s fitting, then, that today in Hall H we got a project that controversially straddles the line between the two.

That would be Bright, which is rumored to be the most expensive film Netflix has ever commissioned. It walks and squawks like the sort of summer-movie tentpole that would play in 3,000 theaters: Directed by David Ayer, who is coming off the biggest hit of his career with Suicide Squad, it stars Will Smith as a human cop paired with an orc (Joel Edgerton) to solve crimes in an effects-laden, magic-infused version of Los Angeles. But despite costing upwards of $100 million to make, it will debut on the streaming service this December, foregoing any kind of exclusive theatrical window.

Will Netflix begin to cannibalize the theatrical experience if it can offer comparably big-budget films? For that matter, does it dent Will Smith’s big-screen career if his action movies, which once reliably set box-office records every Fourth of July weekend, now debut on a streaming service that doesn’t even offer viewership figures? The Netflix film Okja recently got this conversation rolling, but Bright will offer a far more mainstream test of whether a movie is still treated the same when it’s streaming. After Bright’s Hall H panel, Smith and Ayer gathered nearby to debate the matter with press.


“I have a 16-year-old, a 19-year-old, and a 25-year-old at home, and their viewing habits are almost anthropological,” said Smith, who proposed that Netflix and theaters can and should co-exist. “It’s a great study to see how they still go to the movies on Friday and Saturday night, and they watch Netflix all week. It’s two completely different experiences.”

“For me, it’s pretty simple,” said Ayer. “This movie, I got to make in a way and at a level that otherwise, I may not have been able to make.”

I pressed Ayer on that point. For as successful as Suicide Squad was, it was critically drubbed and subject to plenty of studio interference: Warner Bros. reportedly hired the company that cut the trailer to re-edit and re-score the director’s cut Ayer submitted, and the final version of the film leaves all sorts of intended story lines hanging in the wind. Had Ayer made Bright at a big movie studio, how much would he have had to compromise his vision for it?

Smith quickly covered Ayer’s microphone. “Objection, your honor,” he joked. “I’m not gonna have my client answer that.” After a huddle with Ayer, Smith relented: “I’ll allow it.”

“It’s hard to speak for what could have been,” said Ayer, delicately. “I can say that this is the movie that should have been. I got to shoot in Los Angeles, we weren’t chasing a rebate. We got the equipment we wanted, we were able to shoot practical stunts. As a filmmaker, to spend more time working on the creative [instead of] working on the spreadsheet that supports the film is a true pleasure. I think that changes how you come at the movie and it changes how the cast comes at the movie because you feel that freedom.”

“The rating would have been different,” added Bright producer Eric Newman. “This is a rated-R movie, but at a studio,” with the big budget it had, “it wouldn’t have been.”

“There’s a lot of orc nudity,” joked Edgerton.

“Once you go orc, you never go back,” said Smith.

At the Hall H panel before the press conference, Smith admitted that a theatrical release still has a certain magic to it. “There’s something about the big screen that does something to people’s minds,” said the 48-year-old star, recalling the “ecstasy” of seeing Star Wars in a movie theater as a kid. (“I had sex a few years later. It was close, but no Star Wars,” he said.) Though Smith had plenty of success as a rapper and TV star before transitioning to movies, his first big-screen success changed the way people treated him. “I was on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and people would see me on the street, like, ‘Will, Will, Will!’” said Smith. “And that Monday after Independence Day came out was the first time anybody referred to me as ‘Mr. Smith.’ [It] penetrates people in a very different kind of way.”

But Smith, who once studied Tom Cruise’s country-hopping promotional playbook in order to launch himself as a bona-fide global superstar, is paying just as much attention to the cultural shift that’s happening now. “It is such a new world,” he said. “I released my first record in ’86, so I’m over 30 years in the business. I’m seeing that transition of, essentially, the fans being more and more involved in the creative process. In terms of movie stardom, it’s a huge difference: You almost can’t make new movie stars anymore, right?”



Willow Grove author sues writers, Netflix for allegedly stealing his story for frat film

Is the Netflix original film Burning Sands, about the torturous travails of fraternity hazing, actually original?


Or was writer-director Gerard McMurray’s feature, which premiered on the streaming site in January, actually lifted from a novel of the same name by Al Quarles Jr., a Philadelphia School District administrator and author?

Both novel and film are set at predominantly black colleges and tell the story of straitlaced students who respond to the pressure to fit in by rushing a fraternity. Both stories focus on the sometimes inhuman treatment of pledges by older frat members.


Quarles’ attorney filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court in Pennsylvania charging that McMurray and co-screenwriter Christine T. Berg plagiarized Quarles’ two-volume novel Burning Sands, which he self-published through Amazon in 2014.  (The suit can be accessed online here.) The suit names Netflix and Mandalay Entertainment in addition to the screenwriters.

“Al is a great guy who put his heart and soul into these books,” Philadelphia attorney Brian Lentz said Tuesday. “We think that the evidence will show they took his creative work without his permission.”

A Netflix representative Tuesday said the subscription service would not comment on the suit. Calls for comment from McMurray’s and Berg’s lawyers were not immediately returned.


Quarles, 50, of Willow Grove, said he was shocked to find the film had “as many as 100 points of similarities” to his books. “There are some differences, but the heart of the movie was taken directly from my books,” he said.


Quarles said he was immediately struck by the film’s title, identical to his book.

“But that in itself isn’t a smoking gun,” he said. “Burning sands is an expression you would hear around fraternities. It’s a term to describe coming into a fraternity, crossing the sands, and making it in.”

At the heart of the dispute are two personal stories. McMurray has said that he based his film on his own experiences as an undergraduate at Howard University. Quarles, an administrator for the School District’s homeless and emergency services, also drew from his own life. The Abington High School alum attended Millersville University in Lancaster County, where in the late 1980s he pledged Kappa Alpha Psi, although his experience did not mirror those in his novel.

“I loved my fraternity,” he said Tuesday while en route to a vacation in Orlando with his wife and three children. “At Millersville I didn’t go through any sort of torture,” he said, referring to the horrors faced by the young men he depicts in his novel. “But I know some excesses were committed in the 1980s.”

Quarles said he began the novel nearly 18 years ago. “I started it on an old Mac word processor. It didn’t even have spell-check,” he said. “I wrote through to the end, then I took a year off and went back to it. I would do that, work on it for a while, then wait a year. So it was a real process.”

He published the first volume, Burning Sands: My Brother’s Keeper Volume 1, in 2014. “We’re pretty sure that the [Netflix film] wasn’t written until 2016,” he said.



Netflix is rapidly taking over the Emmys

This year’s Emmy nominations are out, and one thing is abundantly clear: Netflix is now an entertainment powerhouse, close on the heels of HBO. The company nabbed a record 93 nominations for its original streaming content, nearly double what it earned last year, and just 17 shy of HBO’s eye-popping 110. While House of Cards has arguably overstayed its welcome on the awards show circuit, Netflix has nonetheless used that program and many others — including The Crown, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Master of None — to climb the nomination ranks.


Back in 2016, Netflix came in third in overall nominations behind FX, which earned its recognition largely on the strength of Fargo. The year before, Netflix hung out at the bottom of the nominee list, behind Fox, FX, NBC, CBS, and ABC.


It’s worth noting that HBO’s The Leftovers received only one nomination this year, for Ann Dowd’s guest appearance on The Leftovers as cult leader Patti Levine. Meanwhile, Game of Thrones, because of its delayed season 7 premiere, was completely off this year’s ticket. Still, Netflix’s ability to so consistently churn out quality television across a vast number of categories suggests the company’s experimental approach is paying off, along with its track record of bringing in creators with strong individual visions. (The company notably moves promptly to shutter shows that don’t perform well with viewers.)

Netflix’s gradual gain in industry awards has been a steady trend, as the company has aggressively amped up its original production output and gunned for more traditional recognition at annual awards shows. It’s also a telling data point for the rise of streaming services. This is the first year Netflix and Hulu outnumber cable broadcasters in the coveted Outstanding Drama Series. Although HBO’s Westworld and NBC’s Saturday Night Live, which tied for 22 total nominations, cemented traditional TV’s dominance at the top of the chart, it’s becoming increasingly likely streaming services will start to lead the pack.



Marvel’s Luke Cage adds two new cast members for season 2

Two new faces will be coming to Harlem in season two of Luke Cage, with Marvel and Netflix announcing that Mustafa Sahkir (The Night Of) and Gabrielle Dennis (Rosewood) have been cast in the upcoming season.

Shakir will portray John McIver (a.k.a. Bushmaster), who is described as “a natural leader, brimming with charisma, whose mission is focused on Harlem and vengeance.”

Dennis, meanwhile, will portray Tilda Johnson (a.k.a. Nightshade/Nighthawk), “a brilliant, holistic doctor with a complicated history in Harlem where, as much as she tries to stay far from trouble, it seems to always find her.”

Interestingly, just last month, actress and singer Nabiyah Be revealed that she is also playing the character of Tilda Johnson in next year’s Black Panther.

“Mustafa’s incredible presence and power ignited us from our first meeting, and Gabrielle brings the charm and smarts to a very complicated role,” remarked executive producer Jeph Loeb. “Both will be wonderful additions to our already magnificent cast.”

“I can’t wait for audiences to see the compelling paces we put both Mustafa and Gabrielle through,” said Marvel’s Luke Cage executive producer and showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker. “From the moment you see each of them on screen, I feel they will be powerful additions to the world of Marvel and Harlem’s Luke Cage.”

Luke Cage season two will star Mike Colter as the titular Luke Cage, with Simone Missick as Misty Knight, Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard and Theo Rossi as Shades. Colter will be seen next as the character in Marvel’s The Defenders in August.



Netflix Castlevania series reveals voice cast

The cast of Netflix’s animated Castlevania series has been officially revealed by producer Adi Shankar and actor Graham McTavish, who will play Dracula in the upcoming show.


The cast of Netflix’s Castlevania appears to draw heavily from characters introduced in Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse. Richard Armitage, who played Thorin in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit film trilogy, will voice vampire hunter Trevor Belmont. Joining him in the fight against Dracula will be James Callis, best known for playing Dr. Gaius Baltar in Battlestar Galactica, as Alucard.

Alejandra Reynoso will voice Sypha Belnades and Emily Swallow will voice Lisa Tepes, the wife of Dracula and mother to Alucard.

Matt Frewer, perhaps best known for his roles as Max Headroom and Dr. Aldous Leekie on Orphan Black, will play a character known as The Bishop. Veteran character actor Tony Amendola will voice a character called The Elder.



Castlevania will begin streaming on Netflix on July 7. Check out the first teaser trailer for the animated series for a taste of what’s to come.



YouTube has hit a milestone and announced a slew of new features

YouTube announced that 1.5 billion logged in users visit the platform each month and several new features at Vidcon 2017, an annual digital video-focused convention, VentureBeat reports.

YouTube also unveiled a new virtual reality (VR) video format, called VR180, announced the expansion of YouTube TV to 10 more markets, and showed glimpses of 12 upcoming YouTube Red originals. The most impactful announcements made are listed below.

  • Messaging and sharing features within the YouTube app: Users will be able to chat and share YouTube videos with their friends in-app, as opposed to leaving the app to share a link. This could help retain users and boost average app engagement time. YouTube previously unveiled these features last year as an initial pilot. With this update, YouTube is becoming more of a social platform, like Facebook. On the other hand, Facebook has been pushing its video offerings for a while, in part to be able to compete with and draw eyeballs from YouTube. Facebook also recently started testing new features on its Videos tab on Android.


  • Flexible format for mobile YouTube video viewing: This will adapt the aspect ratio of any video, regardless of whether it is filmed vertically or horizontally — meaning users will no longer see mattes, or black bars, on sides of their videos. This could improve the user experience, but also provides opportunities for creators and ad formats shot vertically. These new creative opportunities and ad formats could attract content creators and brands to YouTube.


  • TV as a medium of consumption: TV is the fastest-growing medium of YouTube consumption, currently advancing at a 90% annual clip. According to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, people watch one hour of YouTube on mobile devices, and up to four hours of TV, per day — suggesting there is room to grow for YouTube consumption on TV. This could indicate YouTube’s push to become more TV-like is gaining traction. Also, this a signal to TV brand advertisers that YouTube is a platform worth investing in.

time spent streaming by platform




Netflix No Longer Available to Rooted, Unlocked Android Devices

The “unlocked” devices Netflix is refusing to support may refer to bootloader-unlocked devices rather than carrier-unlocked devices. Carrier unlocking refers to the practice of allowing a device purchased from one company to run on another company’s network, while bootloader unlocking allows a smartphone to run a completely different version of Android (or in some cases, an entirely different operating system).  Not all phone manufacturers lock their bootloader and some manufacturers that do lock their bootloaders don’t lock every single SKU they manufacture. It is unclear if the new Netflix app distinguishes between devices that were unlocked by the end user and devices that were purchased with an unlocked bootloader from their manufacturers. Thanks to reader Jeff Bowles for catching this possibility.

Original  Story Below:

For years, Android owners who wanted a greater range of freedom when using their devices have had the option to root them. The term refers to “root access,” which gives the end user control over options that the phone’s manufacturer had previously prevented them from accessing. Rooting can be used to update a device to a different or new OS, remove applications the OEM installed by default, or install special applications that require administrative access and cannot run on a non-rooted device.

The vast majority of Android users never bother with rooting their hardware. But it’s a useful way for power users to keep a device updated after the OEM has abandoned it, or to simply add features and capabilities that weren’t previously available. The majority of applications in the Google Play Store run on rooted or unrooted devices without any problems. Netflix, however, has decided to buck this trend with the latest version of its own app. The company has confirmed that devices that are not “Google-certified or have been altered” are no longer capable of accessing the mobile service. Disturbingly, this appears to apply to devices that are rooted or unlocked.

A Netflix spokesperson told Android Police the following:

With our latest 5.0 release, we now fully rely on the Widevine DRM provided by Google; therefore, many devices that are not Google-certified or have been altered will no longer work with our latest app and those users will no longer see the Netflix app in the Play Store.

Now, in theory, this has been done to make certain that Google’s Wildvine DRM technology isn’t bypassed by a rooted device. But Android Police reports that it’s also blocking devices that have simply been unlocked. There’s a significant difference between the two states. An unlocked device has simply been modified to allow it to be used with multiple carriers, as opposed to rooting, which gives the user much more control over the phone and could theoretically be used to facilitate piracy. Most phone manufacturers sell unlocked devices on the open market (without any kind of subsidy or discount arrangement) and OEMs often will unlock a device on request, provided it’s fully paid off.

But the Netflix application itself hasn’t been prevented from running. It’s the download and store listing that are blocked. Android Police notes that whether you can download the Netflix app seems linked to a device’s SafetyNet status, not whether it supports Google’s Wildvine DRM. SafetyNet is an API that checks whether the bootloader on a device is locked; AndroidPay is disabled on devices with unlocked bootloaders regardless of whether those devices are rooted or not.

SafetyNet and Wildvine are two distinct technologies, which makes the whole issue rather strange. Netflix is claiming it implemented this change due to Wildvine, but it’s not checking Wildvine status to determine whether to allow installation of Netflix. To get around this problem, if you install Netflix via a website like APKMirror, it still works normally on an unlocked, rooted device — at least for now.




Netflix’s ‘Assassin’s Creed’ TV Series in Development; What We Know So Far

It has been confirmed that an “Assassin’s Creed” TV series is in the works. Despite the huge following of the franchise, its movie adaptation failed to be a box office hit or even break even in theaters last year. The upcoming show is rumored to be available on Netflix.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot announced last year that they have been in contact with Netflix for a possible series adaptation for one of their games. Screen Rant reports that the company’s Aymar Azaizia said in a forum that they are working on an “Assassin’s Creed” TV series.

Azaizia adds that they are taking their time with developing the “Assassin’s Creed” TV series similar to that of the movie. However, the Ubisoft employee did not specify if the rumored Netflix show will be in live-action or a CGI animation.


Netflix has been on a spree with releasing live-action comic book shows from Marvel and DC. The possibility of “Assassin’s Creed” TV show being streamed by them may be true. Furthermore, a series would do better for the franchise than a movie as it can accommodate a lot more content.

However, neither Ubisoft nor Netflix has released a formal announcement regarding the release of the “Assassin’s Creed” TV series. The show may take a while as either live-action or CGI animation will likely take some time.


On to what’s next for Ubisoft’s gaming franchise, there have been rumors of a new title called “Assassin’s Creed: Empire.” GameSpot reports that Azaizia was asked to confirm regarding a leaked image of the game to which he denied that it’s not from the franchise.

It has been speculated by fans that “Assassin’s Creed: Empire” will take place in Egypt and the game might be released soon. The outlet notes that Ubisoft has not released a new title for the franchise last year.

Are you in favor of seeing an “Assassin’s Creed” TV series on Netflix? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.


Netflix’s ‘The Defenders’ announces summer 2017 premiere date

Iron Fist may have left a bad taste in the mouths of many critics and fans, but that hasn’t slowed the excitement for The Defenders.

After months of anticipation, Netflix has finally announced when the highly anticipated miniseries will be upon us. The streaming service released a brief teaser, which revealed the show’s release date to be August 18, 2017. Most assumed that the show would be released around the summer, so this should come as no surprise.

The actual teaser shows the heroes through an elevator camera at Midland Circle Financial.  All four appear to be catching their breath before Jessica Jones knocks out the camera feed. Before she does so, the camera’s time-code stops at 08: 18: 20: 17 cleverly displaying the premiere date.

It’s also worth noting that Midland Circle Financial is where the giant sinkhole was located in Daredevil Season 2.

In addition to the teaser, a viral website called the New York Bulletin has also been launched by Marvel and Netflix to promote the show. Fans of course know this to be the fictional publication that covers the “unusual” events that occur in this universe.

The eight-episode miniseries is intended to be the culmination of the four preceding Netflix series—Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist—and will bring together the four title heroes of each. It will also feature supporting characters from each show.



Netflix will explore mobile-specific cuts of its original series

Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt said in a briefing today with journalists in San Francisco that the company plans to explore streaming mobile-specific cuts of its original movies and TV shows, to satisfy what he said was a growing audience of mobile Netflix watchers.

“It’s not inconceivable that you could take a master [copy] and make a different cut for mobile,” Hunt said. To date, Netflix hasn’t been delivering different cuts for different viewing platforms, Hunt said, but “it’s something we will explore over the next few years.”

The idea to be would be to create a version of the content with scenes or shots that are more easily visible or immersive on a mobile phone, since certain shots can be hard to see or can appear diminished on a relatively small phone screen.

Hunt, who has been with Netflix since 1999 and is one of the company’s top executives, made the remarks as part of a two-day event at Dolby Laboratories and Netflix’s own headquarters, as the two companies gear up for the launch of Iron Fist. Much of the conversation so far has centered around the series being shot natively in HDR, a method that offers a more dynamic range of colors on the TV or movie screen in front of you. But Hunt, along with Dolby executives, emphasized that HDR isn’t just for big-screen viewing.


It’s been about a year since Netflix became available globally — with the exception of a few markets, including China, and since then it has seen mobile usage soar. In established markets like the US and Canada, most Netflix watching still happens on TVs, Hunt said; but in some Asian countries, especially India, “mobile screens are the majority consumption device.”



Apple and Facebook gunning for Netflix with aggressive plans for original content

“In terms of original content, we have put our toe in the water doing some original content for Apple Music, and that will be rolling out through the year,” Cook said. “We are learning from that, and we’ll go from there.”

Cook went on to note that he is pleased with the company’s progress on Apple TV, which launched a year ago. The device, similar to Roku, connects TVs to the Internet and allows access to streaming service apps such as Netflix, Hulu and ESPN.

Now Apple wants to join Netflix in becoming a content provider. Apple has plans to “participate economically in some of that by offering our platform selling and distributing,” per Cook.

“With our toe in the water we are learning a lot about the original content business, and thinking about ways that we could play in that,” he said.

Not to be outdone, Facebook is also planning to bring long-form content to screens larger than a mobile phone, per The Wall Street Journal. The Menlo Park-based company is developing its own app for set-top boxes, including Apple TV.

Facebook has been considering a connected-TV app for a few years, but has now made it a top priority along with its other video initiatives, per the Journal. In addition to the app, the company is also moving forward with acquiring and funding original programming from media companies and individual digital stars, according to Variety. Ricky Van Veen, Facebook’s head of global creative strategy, is spearheading the effort after joining the company last year from CollegeHumor.

The moves out of both companies emphasize the importance of original content as they take on Netflix, Amazon and even Google’s YouTube — all which have made significant investments in programming. A report from The Wall Street Journal last month said Apple will aim for high-end original content, similar to award-nominated shows such such as HBO’s “Westworld” or Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”

A few hit shows for Apple could encourage people to continue to purchase Apple devices and shell out for its subscription services. Apple reported on Tuesday that its services are its fastest-growing business, per TechCrunch.

Facebook’s strategy has more to do with advertising, with the company looking for new ways bring traditional TV marketing dollars to its platform. Last week, the social media giant updated its algorithm to reward producers of longer videos. If Facebook can increase users’ watch time on the site and on television screens, it can bring in more advertisers.

Facebook users were already watching 100 million hours of video per day on the platform in 2016, per Recode. The company stands to generate $3.8 billion in revenue from video advertising this year, triple its expected take in 2015, according to Variety.



Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events gets right what the movie got wrong

The moment you start watching Netflix’s new show A Series of Unfortunate Events, Neil Patrick Harris implores you to stop. “Look away, look away,” he croons in the opening theme, “This show will wreck your evening, your whole life, and your day.” It’s the same approach the Series of Unfortunate Events books have always taken, both in their text and in their marketing: drawing fans in by telling them their lives would be much more enjoyable if they looked for almost any other story instead. The gimmick works — the fastest way to get kids to read something is to tell them they shouldn’t. Fortunately for Netflix, the television adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events isn’t nearly as terrible as the the marketing, theme song, and narration all claim.

Author Daniel Handler first launched the Series of Unfortunate Events novels in 1999, writing under the pseudonym “Lemony Snicket,” who narrates in both his series and Netflix’s show. In 2004, Nickelodeon adapted the first few Snicket books into a theatrical movie, starring Jim Carrey, that was intended to launch a film franchise. But the film failed to take off at the box office, and the planned sequels were canceled. Now the books are getting the Hollywood reboot on Netflix, with an initial season that fittingly releases on Friday, January 13th.

The show’s plot closely follows the books. (For fans, the eight-episode season covers the events of the first four novels in the 13-book series: The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window, and The Miserable Mill.) Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are orphans whose parents die in a mysterious fire. The show documents the (unfortunate) events of their lives as they’re passed around from guardian to guardian. Snicket tells the story of the villainous Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris), who pursues the children, trying to seize their inherited fortune. Along the way, a more substantial conspiracy involving the enigmatic VFD organization emerges as a major factor in the Baudelaires’ lives.

But the show doesn’t just follow the books’ story beats; it nails down the tone that made the stories so special. Most children’s books tend to treat children like children, but A Series of Unfortunate Events took its audience seriously, refusing to dumb down its content.


Individual novels rarely end on upbeat notes, and Snicket’s narration is quick to remind readers that the Baudelaires’ story isn’t a happy one. Characters are complex and morally gray, and as the series progresses, both the heroes and villains are forced to make choices that blur the lines between them. The world-building is rich with mysterious groups lurking in the background, and a deep interconnected backstory spanning the entire series for attentive readers to uncover alongside the Baudelaire orphans. While the current Netflix episodes only cover a comparatively short chunk of the overall series, it’s clear that they were produced with a great deal of care to ensure the feel of the books made the jump to the screen.



Amazon and Netflix want to control the market for deep, edgy indie films, too

Amazon is upping the ante at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

The e-commerce company, which scored its first Golden Globe film award for Manchester by the Sea, a title it picked up at Sundance last year, plans bonuses of up to $100,000 for two-year streaming rights to this year’s official Sundance selections. That’s in addition to royalties, according to Deadline.

The incentives are an extension of Amazon Video Direct, a program that feeds entertainment content into Amazon’s streaming-video platform, Prime Video, by allowing creators to upload videos directly.

Streaming technology has made it easier than ever for independent filmmakers to reach audiences. But it’s also introduced new competition, making it harder for small films to get noticed. Getting a film on Amazon or Netflix, however, gives filmmakers a built-in audience, one that is both big and small.

“These new players came in and disrupted the market and it’s great,” said Joana Vicente, executive director of the Independent Film Project in New York, a non-profit that helps independent filmmakers to navigate production and distribution. “There’s hope for independent film.”

Vicente cautioned, however, that landing a major deal with Amazon or any other distributor at Sundance is still like winning lottery. Smaller filmmakers, she said, should be strategic about their options.

Prestigious, independent titles, meanwhile, have helped solidify Amazon and Netflix’s standings as serious players in the film industry. Movies like Manchester by the Sea and Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation have captured the type of awards buzz and critical recognition that put those same companies on the map in the TV genre. And all of that begets more talent and viewers.


Amazon and Netflix want to control the market for deep, edgy indie films, too

Netflix’s ‘Unfortunate Events’ Fixes the Books’ Plotholes

Adaptation in narrative art is a funny process. Sometimes an “adaptation” ends up meaning “forced change,” like the infamous studio-mandated voice-over in Blade Runner. Other times, an adaptation is natural compromise between text source material and filmed media, like the rational inclusion of more women in the Lord of the Rings movies. But the adaptation of the Lemony Snicket books, A Series of Unfortunate Events, into a Netflix series feels more like a flightless animal spontaneously getting wings: an unexpectedly weird and wild event which adds various elements to the books that are both delightful to look at and functional for storytelling mechanics.

While the the books are wonderful pieces of work — and it could sound blasphemous to say this — there are some notable improvements from a plot perspective which the Netflix show has implemented in adapting these books. And because Daniel Hander (Lemony Snicket IRL) wrote most of these teleplays, none of theses improvements feel intrusive or pandering one bit. Here are eight ways the Snicket story of the Baudelaires zips along better in the new show.