What’s your New Year’s resolution?
Nah. Not going there. Just check out your Instagram feeds and between the animal selfies and cuddling alongside cocktails and midnight clock-shots, you’ll get all you need in the category of I didn’t do this, but I’m gonna do that, and here’s the proof because I’m putting it in writing.
Instead, wouldn’t it be more productive to talk about the 10 things Hollywood is going to do in 2020 that will change absolutely everything?
It’s a tall order, we know, but based on trends, our handy SNTS algorithm, and the stupid things that people tend to do when nobody is watching, we’ve collected our prescient list of the things that a room of people will decide to do, unleash upon the entertainment world, and then pat themselves on the back later about it (assuming it doesn’t shit the bed in the process).
This list includes the kind of business decisions that change how consumers view and interact with content, and the ludicrous decisions that talent and Producers make along the way. We challenge you to come back a year from now and tell us we were crazy…because we’re willing to put our money where our mouths are. For every item on this list that doesn’t happen, we will donate $1 for every Twitter follower we have at that point in time, to the National Women’s Law Center, who are “advocates, experts, and lawyers who fight for gender justice, taking on issues that are central to the lives of women and girls.”
Now that we’ve got that out of the way? Our list:
- The Theatrical Window is Shortened to 45 Days. This means that, while today, a movie must remain off digital platforms, streaming services and at your local DVD seller (if they still exist) for 90 days, a year from now that’s going to be much different. By next year at this time, you’ll see movies primarily (and exclusively) in theaters for just 6 weeks before they land on iTunes, Amazon and your cable on demand service as well as services like Netflix and Prime Video. This past year Netflix pushed on theaters to give them a 30 day window for The Irishman, but only got offers of 60 days from the theatrical mob. Studios watched this with a keen eye, because if it had happened, they too would have jumped on the bandwagon. Every studio executive knows that the money they make in theaters generally happens in the first four weeks, and everyone’s desperate to shorten it. Well… Next year? Forty-five days. We’re calling it.
- Harvey Weinstein Goes to Jail. His court case starts in just a week, with dozens and dozens of victims curiously watching how it all unfolds. From our contacts within the legal system, and our experience watching A Few Good Men twenty-eight times over the holiday break, we have no doubt that the Weinstein ticking clock (not to confuse it with the Watchmen one) is about to run aground at zero. And while it may not change the world as we know it, and the inordinate amount of Hollywood brass who still need to be brought to justice…this is going to happen. We promise you.
- Downhill Takes Sundance by Storm. Force Majeure was a highly successful foreign film; but Downhill (starring Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is going to cause a literal avalanche of positivity at Sundance 2020 this month. The Searchlight remake of the popular foreign film will not only bring the house down at (most likely) the Eccles theater in the heart of Park City, but it’s going to represent a big awards and box office success for the Fox Searchlight (and now Disney) brand.
- 80’s Nostalgia Finally Takes a Hit. Sometimes there’s too much of a good thing. This year, that finally will put a stop to the endless IP rejiggering that Hollywood has been doing for years. While WW84 is going to top the last Wonder Woman movie for WB, films like Bad Boys 3, Sonic the Hedgehog, Fantasy Island and yes…even Top Gun: Maverick are going to underperform at the box office. Films like Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Jungle Cruise will do solid numbers, but nothing ahead of their predecessors, either.
- Quibi Launches in April, and Nobody Knows. Well, people will know, but they just may not care. With a launch coming in just four short months, the general public has no idea what Quibi is, if it’s a part of someone’s plant-based food diet, or what content it contains. Or how much it costs. Or where they can get it. Or why. Our prediction is despite the talent and smart folks behind it, there’s just too much noise out there this year between this, HBO Max, Peacock, Hulu, Netflix, Prime, Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus to give it the oxygen in the room to survive. The Quibi will come and then it will go without, even a whimper. You’ll see. The struggle is real.
- Somebody Buys Netflix. Somebody with billions of dollars just sitting on their books. Waiting to be spent. Someone who can stop Netflix from borrowing bad debt to fund their content. Someone who has a device ecosystem or a theme park. Someone who has a global business in many countries where entertainment and movies still has room to grow. We won’t call out who, but we think you know who.
- Nobody Buys Sony. People have been saying that Sony was on the block for years, but with films like Jumanji: The Next Level and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood this year, they’re doing just fine. There may be companies like Netflix and Amazon who would love to own their own studio to further expand on their Hollywood ambitions, but the parents running the Sony store aren’t going to let that happen with the track record that’s being built over on the Culver City lot.
- Apple TV Plus Shakes It Up. It’s been a rocky start for the fledgling service run by The Godfather of tech, and despite lots of new content coming down the pike, expect to see some major defections and layoffs of key personnel this year in an attempt to shore up the right leadership team to bring this service to a place where people actually consider paying for the service and see value, versus just getting it for free after purchasing an Apple Pen. With plans to hire almost 1,000 people, the growing pains are going to have to play out first before everyone can get back to business.
- Oscars So Mainstream. Look for a year of nominations from movies that actually made decent box office. Movies like Ford v. Ferrari, Once Upon a Time In…Hollywood, Joker and more. Finally, the network will have what they were hoping for when they forced that Most Popular Film Oscar down everyone’s throats — a show that brings popular talent, box office performers and, well, one major foreign film lapping up many of the noms. (Read: Parasite).
- Network Television Starts To Go Kaput. This was the first year in the history of the Golden Globes that no major network (NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC) secured a nomination. Let that sink in for a second. Not one. The industry is shifting and while it’ll probably be a few years before Network Television completely turns to their owned streaming services for connecting with audiences, the money will start to shift as the eyeballs begin to look the other direction. It’ll start with less developed shows landing on the networks, and instead going to Peacock, CBS All Access and Disney Plus. It’ll eventually result in major networks focusing mostly on the kind of limited primetime programming they used to pump out in the 80’s.