From Netflix’s entry into the West Asian market with an Egyptian show to Johnny Depp being dropped from the Fantastic Beasts series, here is what you need to know happened this week.
1. The teaser of Kamal Haasan’s 232nd film, VIKRAM, drops
Directed By Lokesh Kanagaraj, the stunning two-minute-teaser slowly reveals a mysterious man as he gets ready for what seems to be a very special set of visitors. Set inside a log cabin, in a place that resembles Ooty or Kodaikanal, we first see this person boiling rice, as though he is preparing a big feast. And as he gets ready, we also see him loading dozens of guns, including a sawn-off shot gun, and hiding them in difference places within this cabin.
From first glance, it might appears to be a home invasion thriller. But given the way the ‘guests’ enter, it seems more like a message to the audience on what he aims to do to the ‘corrupt’. The actor-politician will also be producing this film under his banner Raaj Kamal Films.
2. Johnny Depp asked to resign from Fantastic Beasts series after losing ‘wife beater’ case
Hollywood actor Johnny Depp was asked to leave the Fantastic Beasts series after he lost the case against the UK-based News Group Newspapers.
News Group’s The Sun published an article, in April 2018, calling Depp “wife beater” for allegedly assaulting his former wife Amber Heard, an American actress. The actor then sued the editor of the newspaper for publishing the story– which the judge Andrew Nicole declared “substantial truth” and dismissed Depp’s suit.
After this, Warner Bros., makers of the Fantastic Beasts series, asked the actor to leave the franchise and he has accepted their request, according to Depp’s Instagram post.
3. Disney delays Death on the Nile indefinitely
Wonder Woman actor Gal Gadot’s Death on the Nile’s release has been moved from the holiday calendar. No new date has been announced delaying the project indefinitely, according to the producers. The move comes in line with European countries going under a new set of lockdown. As the movie industry tries to get back in business, theaters in major movie markets such as New York and Los Angeles remain shut. The onset of the pandemic has moved many big-budget Hollywood projects for a 2021 release. These include action film Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson, and No Time to Die, a new James Bond film, among many other projects. Gadot’s Wonder Woman 1984 is probably the only big budget Hollywood film still on track to release on 25 December.
4. Disney, Sony and others to tweak their India strategy
Hollywood studios such as Disney, Sony and Viacom18 are tweaking their strategies for India after a decade-long presence. Instead of investing in big-budget films, studios are investing in digital content and are also scaling back operations.
Hollywood studios, media industry experts said, are getting increasingly disenchanted with Bollywood’s business model where their local co-producers do not part with IPs (intellectual property rights) for foreign players to monetize and lead stars take away 60-70% of production budgets. Besides, big budget films are no longer fetching big returns, Mint reported on 3 November.
Disney’s huge investments in movies such as Mohenjodaro and Jagga Jasoos, through UTV acquisition, did not earn good returns. On the other hand Sony is bullish on its video-on-demand platform Sony Liv rather than focusing on major theatrical projects.
5. Netflix enters West Asia with Egyptian original series Paranormal
After investing millions in the Indian market, Netflix Inc. entered West Asia with Egyptian show Paranormal. Based on Late Egyptian author Ahmed Khaled Tawfik’s book, the show is about a doctor whose scientific beliefs falls apart when he encounters paranormal activities.
The streaming service will also launch four more West Asian projects apart from Paranormal. Netflix is known for making and distributing shows and series that can hook viewers of different regions. In 2018, it distributed Mexican film Roma that went on to win three Academy Awards. Bulbbul, Masaba Masaba and Delhi Crime are a few projects among many that that streaming platform has made to attract the Indian audience.