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The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on nearly every facet of normal life, but there is one area where the health crisis has proved wildly beneficial: video streaming. With everyone staying at home more these last few months, streaming viewership saw an 85 percent increase between March 30 and June 7, according to a new study from MoffettNathanson (via ComicBook.com).
In that 10-week period, over 1 billion minutes of content were streamed. For context, only 799 million minutes were streamed in the same time span in 2019. Since last year, Netflix is up 76 percent, YouTube is up 96 percent, Hulu is up 68 percent, and Amazon is up 106 percent.
Public places of entertainment (mainly movie theaters) are hoping to reopen in late July/early August, but with virus cases spiking around the country, people may continue to give them a wide berth.
Streaming figures will probably continue to increase for the foreseeable future, so long as platforms like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu have exciting new shows and films to debut such as The Umbrella Academy Season 2 (July 31), Project Power (August 14), The Mandalorian Season 2 (October), and Helstrom (October).
In particular, Netflix nabbed 10 million new subscribers in the second quarter of 2020, blowing away early estimates of 7.5 million and setting a new Q2 record for the company.
"We live in uncertain times with restrictions on what we can do socially and many people are turning to entertainment for relaxation, connection, comfort and stimulation,” the company wrote in a quarterly shareholder letter, according to Variety, which first reported the subscriber news.
That said, Netflix doesn't expect a ton of growth in the second half of the year when compared to 2019, adding: "As we navigate these turbulent circumstances, we’re focused on our members by continuing to improve the quality of our service and bringing new films and shows to people’s screens."
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Check out the strange, atmospheric, and graphic Red Band teaser trailer for Possessor, an upcoming sci-fi thriller written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg. Oblivion's Andrea Riseborough stars as Tasya Vos, an elite corporate assassin who uses futuristic brain-implant technology to take over people's bodies in order to kill high-profile targets. "As she sinks deeper into her latest assignment Vos becomes trapped inside a mind that threatens to obliterate her," reads the official synopsis.
"In this film in particular, I would say that the violence is extremely narrative. So much of Tasya's character is about her relationship to her work and her relationship to that violence... in a film where bodies are so important and her relationship with violence is so important, I felt it was very much appropriate," Cronenberg said at Sundance (where the movie premiered) last year.
Christopher Abbott (The Sinner), Rossif Sutherland (The Expanse), Tuppence Middleton (Downton Abbey), Sean Bean (Snowpiercer), and Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) make up the supporting cast.
There's no release date for the film just yet, but one thing's for sure: like his father before him, Brandon knows how to make the audience uncomfortable through visuals and color alone.
Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, A Scanner Darkly) is blasting off into outer space with his next feature, Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure.
Set against the backdrop of America's historic moon landing in the summer of 1969, the movie "captures the astronaut and mission control view of the triumphant moment, and the lesser-seen bottom up perspective of what it was like from an excited kid’s perspective, living near NASA but mostly watching it on TV like hundreds of millions of others," reads the release. "It’s ultimately both an exacting re-creation of this special moment in history and a kid’s fantasy about being plucked from his average life in suburbia to secretly train for a covert mission to the moon."
The movie was written and directed by Linklater, who based the story on his own childhood experiences in Houston, Texas. Utilizing a combination of traditional hand drawn animation, live-action and CGI, the movie stars Jack Black, Zachary Levi, Glen Powell, Josh Wiggins, Milo Coy, Lee Eddy, Bill Wise, Natalie L'Amoreaux, Jessica Brynn Cohen, Sam Chipman, and Danielle Guilbot.
"It struck me years ago that this was my film to make, from both a chronological and proximity level — I was there, going into 3rd grade," Linklater said in a statement. "Our unique animation style allows both the conjuring of a world long gone, and the flowing, playful expression of memory and imagination. It’s been a fun, creative journey to incorporate things like 3D graphics into a live-action shoot to help bring this story to life."
Apollo 10 1/2 wrapped production back in March and will debut on Netflix at an undisclosed date.