Spotlight on Sequels: Franchise Films Among Top Academy Awards Contenders
In 95 years of Oscar history, only two sequels have ever won the Best Picture statue. As the ceremony tends to honor original or non-franchise films, this year’s edition might usher in a wave of change, as four sequels released in 2022 may be nominated for the year’s top prize. The Godfather Part II (1975) was the first sequel to make history, receiving 11 nominations and six awards (including Best Picture). The most recent franchise film to win Best Picture was 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, though some people attribute that win to the overall success of the popular trilogy, which was released over three consecutive years. Though the list of this year’s nominees has not yet been released, films like Top Gun: Maverick (which dominated the box office last year) are showing huge potential. The original 1986 film received several craft nominations at the Academy Awards and other award ceremonies, as has the sequel. The other sequels in the mix are Avatar: The Way of Water, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. All four films received nominations for the Critics’ Choice Awards, and a few won some top prizes. Some experts believe the Avatar sequel might fare well with Oscar voters this time around, since the original did not receive Best Picture in 2009. Four years ago, Black Panther made waves as the first Marvel film to be nominated for Best Picture, so Wakanda Forever could potentially follow suit. Lastly, Glass Onion may be a contender after winning Best Comedy at the Critics’ Choice Awards.
Broadcasting Rights: TV Networks Bid for the Olympics
In a secret deal, Warner Bros. Discovery and the European Broadcasting Union joined together to share media rights for the 2026-2032 Olympics media cycle. While this agreement will not cover next summer’s games in Paris, it will be in place for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy and the 2028 summer games in Los Angeles. Broadcasting rights for the Olympics have been up in the air after the 2020 summer event (which took place in 2021 due to the pandemic) offered free-to-air coverage (which was reportedly uneven). Discovery Communication bought the European rights for $1.5 billion. The billion-dollar deal gives Discovery the right to broadcast the Olympics in 50 territories, while the International Olympics Committee promised 200 hours of free coverage. Since European Broadcasters were only able to showcase a limited number of hours, fans in these countries were outraged. This new deal will ensure that European Broadcasting Union members can deliver over 200 hours of Olympic coverage, extending to the 2032 games in Brisbane. Public service broadcasters in the U.K. have already announced the deal and revealed that they will have extensive live and on-demand Olympics content in the future. The International Olympics Committee President, Thomas Bach, is proud to have a joint deal with two of the largest media organizations in the world and believes “this long-term agreement also provides critical financial stability to the wider sporting movement and ultimately supports the athletes themselves.” This is a game changer for public broadcasters, securing more free-to-air coverage for audiences in Europe, and creating a new official “Home for the Olympics” with Warner Bros. Discovery.
Los Angeles Production: FilmLA Reports Drop in On-Location Shoots
The 2022 numbers are in, and FilmLA says that shooting last year slowed down by 2.4% compared to 2021. TV pilots took the biggest hit, with shoot days dropping by a whopping 71.9%. While numbers were down for feature films and commercial shoots, they dropped by only 9.6% and 22.6% respectively. The first two quarters of the year started off very strongly, though production saw a turn during the third quarter and again in the fourth. Even after dropping 19.4% from 2021, last year’s numbers were still steady with pre-pandemic levels, which raises some questions with FilmLA President Paul Audley about how productions might trend in 2023. One category of filming that increased this year was reality TV, which went up by 5.2%. Productions filed under the category of “Other,” which include photography, student films, documentaries, music video, and other permitted events, also increased by 22.9%. The total number of shoot days, defined as a crew’s permission to film at a defined location within a 24-hour period, equaled 36,792 by the end of 2022, while 2021 generated 37,709 days of filming. This report specifically looked at Los Angeles and Los Angeles County and did not consider any productions that occurred on official soundstages. Although shoot days decreased, FilmLA productions do show strong ties with the California Tax Incentive program. Of the 760 days of feature film shoots in Q4 2022, 44.6% of those projects received the California Film & Television Tax Credit. Some of those projects include Atlas, Beverly Hills Cops 4, Guns and Moses, and Billy Knight. In the world of television, FilmLA reported that only nine pilots were filmed in Q4 of 2022, down 89.4%, and there was a total of 3,734 shoot days for all TV production.
The Peach State: Georgia’s Tax Credit Grew to $1.3 Billion
Georgia continues to be a leader in the world of production incentives. Last fiscal year, the state’s program grew to $1.3 billion. Currently, this program is not capped, which means all eligible productions in Georgia qualify for a 30% break in costs, making it the largest tax program in the U.S. The next largest programs are New York and California, both of which are capped at $420 million. Georgia’s infrastructure has been drastically changing over the past decade as they welcome some huge projects, including the movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and hit shows like Stranger Things, Ozark, and Fear the Walking Dead. The state also leads the production pack as one of the first to fully reopen after the pandemic forced the industry to lock down. This allowed a strong rebound over the past two years. Around 5% of the state’s general budget goes toward the Film and TV Tax program. In 2020, the Department of Audits and Accounts proposed placing a cap on the budget to better support in-state companies and workers, but this proposal was ultimately rejected. Another cap was proposed last year by the Georgia State Finance Committee but was quickly rejected, as the state’s House speaker believes that the change could “run the industry out of Georgia.” California’s Governor Gavin Newsom recently proposed changes to his state’s program, hoping to better compete with Georgia. The proposal includes making credits refundable and extending the program to 2030. For now, Georgia remains on top.
Park City Cinema: Sundance Film Festival To Welcome Over 100 Films
Hundreds of filmmakers from around the world are set to premiere their projects over the next 10 days. Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the U.S., kicked off on January 19 and will run until January 29. The festival is returning to an in-person event this year, letting guests once again enjoy the picturesque mountainside backdrop in Park City, Utah. Despite being a virtual event, last year’s festival broke records. CODA was the first movie to premier out of Sundance and win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and Summer of Soul went on to win Best Documentary as well. Now, both films will receive an in-person encore at this years’ festival. Attendees will be made up of a wide range of celebrities and movie lovers, such as comedian and actor Randall Park, who said that “Sundance is the pinnacle to me.” Park marks his directorial debut with his film, Shortcomings, at the festival. Sundance currently has a slate of over 100 films, with movies premiering every day between 8 a.m. and midnight. Topics that will be addressed by this year’s slate includes the condition of Iranian women, transgender sex workers, indigenous people, women’s rights, and the war in Ukraine. Additionally, several celebrity documentaries will also premiere, including Pretty Baby—a portrait of actress Brooke Shields. This year’s festival is still embracing a hybrid approach, making some films available to watch online. Some events will also require proof of vaccination and encourage the use of face masks due to recent COVID-19 outbreaks.
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