Paramount Pictures president of worldwide home media distribution Bob Buchi, YouTube global head of content Susanne Daniels, Incredibles 2 director Brad Bird and “Insecure” creator and star Issa Rae were honored at Variety’s Hall of Fame dinner Dec. 4.
The digital movie sales and storage service Movies Anywhere and digital retailer FandangoNow were also acknowledged with awards at the event “celebrating innovation in multiplatform entertainment,” which benefited City Year.
Buchi noted his first job working for a studio was as a sweeper at Disneyland. The rule was if he saw $20 on the ground he could sweep it up and go backstage and put it in his pocket. “Here I am 20 years later, and I’m still trying to coax $20 at a time out of consumers’ pockets,” he joked.
Saying he was “very honored and humbled” by the award, he praised the industry’s collaborative nature. “We’re all competitors but we all rally around technical advancements,” he said.
Karin Gilford, SVP and GM of Movies Anywhere, accepted the Deloitte Media and Entertainment Innovation Award for one of those advancements, Movies Anywhere. The digital movie collection service backed by five major studios launched in October 2017 with industry teamwork, she said. “Movies Anywhere is a collaborative endeavor and the success that we’ve achieved this year reflects the boundless energy, amazing creativity and commitment to teamwork that we continue to see from our partners and colleagues at Disney, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal and Warner Brothers,” she said, noting that the service is backed by six, “soon to be seven,” major retail partners.
“We continue to believe Movies Anywhere is a game changer,” she said. “Digital ownership has tremendous value.”
Director Brad Bird gave a nod to the home entertainment industry, while also extolling the virtues of the theatrical experience. “Watching something uninterrupted with strangers in the dark, there’s nothing like it,” he said. Still, home entertainment widens the audience, he noted.
“It’s also a wonderful time for movies because there are so many ways to see them thanks to all the people in this room, and when movies go to that ethereal place that they all go to, they can be viewed at any time and that’s a wonderful thing and people can be comforted by stories and watch them conveniently,” he said.
YouTube’s Daniels counted herself lucky “to work with incredibly talented people who tell compelling stories that resonate with audiences young and old.” “I’m also lucky be part of YouTube, a platform that gives people across the globe a way to share their experiences and their voice,” she added.
Rae, who got her start on the web, noted, “I’m here because of the Internet, because of YouTube.” She acknowledged entertainment executives who allowed her “space to suck.”
“Sometimes as people of color, as minorities, we can be crippled by fear of failure because we know we only get one chance,” she said.
Cameron Douglas, VP of home entertainment, Fandango, accepted the Variety Innovation Award for the digital service FandangoNow.
He created an elaborate, comedic backstory for the retailer starting with the “Fandango brothers,” who lost their dance studio in San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake. They decided to create a digital movie service, he said.
“They didn’t know what that meant at the time, but they were determined,” Douglas joked.