Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Does Apple Know Hollywood Math?

This is not Apple's first overall deal with a superstar.  The article reports they've done the same with directors Alphonso Cuarón and Justin Lin, and art-house movie distributor A24.  

Is the formula that simple: if you build a streaming service with former Emmy winners, Emmys will come?

Or is this one equation the engineers at Apple have gotten wrong?

After all, Louis-Dreyfus spent three forgotten years on SNL before moving on to Seinfeld….and, well, we know how that story ended. 

That is to say, it's not so simple as possessing talent.  The talent also needs to be in a fertile environment.

Which brings me to the point of my concern….

Have you SEEN what's on Apple TV+?

For starters, scrolling through its slim catalog feels like walking through an empty warehouse.  But maybe that's to be expected for a nascent streaming service.

Morning Show, its most acclaimed achievement, had a promising beginning, but really petered off by the end.  (Although DO see it to the end—the scenes of Mark Duplass wandering around Times Square looking like he’d just spent the last three nights sleeping under a blanket of newspapers are not to be missed.)

Servant, M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller about a toy baby that becomes real, is anything but.

Dickinson, an amalgamation of 19th-Century Amherst and woke Gen-Zers, is just so bizarre.

The Banker, starring Samuel Jackson, was supposed to be in their canon of good movies but it’s been detained in #MeToo purgatory.

Elephant Queen, a movie that follows an elephant herd in Kenya, is their only content that's irrefutably good.  And, well, Oprah’s Book Club.  (Yes, she too has signed herself over to Apple TV+.)

A LOT of star power went into all this: Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, Billy Crudup (Morning Show), Lauren Ambrose, Rupert Grint (Servant).  And more.  

Yet elephants in Kenya have out performed them all.

Maybe Apple’s methodology WILL pay off—they’ll hit some jackpot of a show that EVERYONE will have to see, meaning EVERYONE will have to sign up for the service.
And Apple certainly needs a lot in its arsenal to remain in the game.  It has Disney to content with, who has license to pretty much EVERYTHING currently out there: Star Wars, Marvel, 20th Century (we're not to say "Fox" anymore, lest we associate Disney with that unmentionable mogul).  Plus, Quibi is coming down the pike with brand new, star-studded content.

Still, you have to wonder why Truth Be Told, a show with an Oscar and an Emmy Winner--Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul--is so forgettable I didn’t even think to review it above.  

Let's hope Apple is just cutting its teeth.

Because something about all those amaHAZing superstars ambling around that cavernous streaming service is giving me the creeps.  

Maybe that’s the real psychological thriller—how Apple TV+ is locking up talent and content with overall deals into its as-of-yet meh streaming service.
Julie Anderton © - DESIGNED BY HERPARK