1. Netflix has set dates for its first slate of original feature films. Leading the pack is Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation,” which Netflix pushes into the awards corridor day-and-date on October 16. Since Netflix outbid Fox Searchlight for the film back in March, ticked-off exhibitors have dropped out of screening “Beasts,” which shares its opening date with Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies” and Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak,” and will be distributed in theaters by Netflix partner Bleecker Street.
The first of four Adam Sandler vehicles set for Netflix, “The Ridiculous Six,” will premiere in time for the holidays on December 11. A sendup of classic Westerns, the film is directed by co-writer Sandler’s buddy Frank Coraci.
Two titles, however, we won’t see until next year. “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday” is expected to arrive in March, while “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend” has been pushed from August 28 of this year to the first quarter of 2016. Distributed theatrically by The Weinstein Company, film will also play IMAX screens day-and-date — to the umbrage of exhibitors.
2. Meanwhile, Showtime has launched its standalone streaming service — for $4 to $6 less than HBO Now depending on how you subscribe. It’s available on Apple, Roku, PlayStation Vue and Showtime.com for $10.99, and via Hulu for $8.99. A 30-day free trial is included (which means you’ve got 30 days to binge-watch “Masters of Sex,” “The Affair,” “Ray Donovan,” “Penny Dreadful” and more for free).
Meanwhile, Viki, the global TV streaming site (claiming 40 million monthly users) is partnering with Roku to launch a Viki channel, available for free to Roku users starting July 7th. The Viki channel offers primetime global TV shows and movies–such as Korean supernatural romance “My Love From Another Star,” Korean medical drama “Good Doctor” (CBS is developing a remake) and murder-mystery “God’s Gift – 14 Days” (which CAA is packaging for American consumption)– to Roku customers for free, supported by ads.
3. Alas, streamcasters are passing on “Hannibal” this week, with Netflix and Amazon both saying no to the recently cancelled NBC series despite the concerted efforts of the producers. Were critics the only ones watching? Writer/creator Bryan Fuller is still looking into options for season four of the cult series, but is moving on to his Starz outing “American Gods.”
Read our TV critic’s “Hannibal” cri de coeur here.