Friday Links

Here are some of the stories I’ve been following the last couple of days:

  • University of Wisconsin media studies professor Jonathan Gray has one of the more thoughtful discussions of the pro-union protests that have been taking place in Madison over the last few days, with a promise to offer more posts in the days ahead.
  • Patrick Goldtsein looks at the attendance for Oscar contenders such as Black Swan, The King’s Speech, The Fighter, The Social Network, and True Grit and attempts to address why adult moviegoers have been returning to the box office this year. My sense is that there probably isn’t a simple causal explanation, although it helps to have relatively marketable directors (Fincher, The Coens) and stars (Bridges, Wahlberg, Portman, Firth) involved in some of these projects. ¬†True Grit is a “remake” of a familiar film, and others fit into or engage with familiar (and well-liked) genres.
  • Via The Film Doctor, Mark Harris’s GQ column about Hollywood’s reluctance to make movie dramas. ¬†Harris offers a checklist of sequels, prequels, and comic book adaptations to imply that the studios have abandoned these kinds of films, but even though 2011 apparently promises a record number of sequels, that does not preclude the existence of other films.
  • Liz Losh considers whether blogging itself is becoming dated, comparing her practices of teaching it to “teaching Latin.” But she adds that she still learns quite a bit about the students in her relatively large classes from the blog posts that they write. But to me, asking whether blogging is dead sounds an awful lot like a conversation we’ve been having about film criticism for some time now.
  • Although I’ve been writing primarily about the digital distribution of movies, I’m also aware that the questions about VOD also have important implications for TV. With that in mind, I found ESPN’s discussion of their “multipltaform distribution” practices interesting. Especially notable was the claim that online distribution does not cannibalize traditional viewing on cable.
  • On a related note, Advertising Age discusses the distribution turf wars between Google TV and Hulu (among others).

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