Speed

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/4/21;
20th Century;
Action;
Rated ‘R’ for violence and language.
Stars Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper, Joe Morton, Jeff Daniels.

Jan de Bont’s 1994 action thriller Speed is motoring to 4K Ultra HD for the first time, and despite the old tech (ubiquitous cell phones would have changed so much in these films!), it looks like it came out yesterday. Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, whose stars both soared after this fast-paced hit, are restored as fresh-faced ingenues with a makeover by the picture upgrade.

In the film, originally released by Fox, Reeves stars as an L.A.P.D. SWAT team specialist who is sent to diffuse a bomb that a revenge-driven extortionist (Dennis Hopper) has planted on a city bus. But until he does, one of the passengers (Bullock) must keep the bus speeding through the streets of Los Angeles at more than 50 miles per hour — or the bomb will explode.

The plot of Speed is so familiar and satirized that it’s easy for forget that it is a heart-stopping thrill ride. Viewers will relish a return to the kind of pure popcorn-movie fun that existed in the 1990s before 9/11 and other dark events. Speed came out of a time when the biggest threat seemed to be a ruthless terrorist out for money, and the body count could be counted on one or two hands. The aim of this era of films was to send the viewer on a rollercoaster ride with twists and turns and, particularly in the case of Speed, accelerated action.

So, the point of Speed isn’t to think too much — plot holes and physics-defying scenes abound — but to sit back and go along for the ride. And it’s a fun ride that looks better than it has since its theatrical release due to this 4K upgrade.

Special features, which vary by product and retailer, include audio commentary by de Bont; audio commentary by writer Graham Yost and producer Mark Gordon; several making-of featurettes; extended scenes; and a Speed music video by Billy Idol.

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The commentaries by de Bont and Yost and Gordon were obviously recorded for the DVD release just after 9/11, as they make reference to the horror that recently occurred in New York City. Despite their vintage origin, the commentaries have a nostalgic feel that still rings true today, as they note that bigger threats are happening in the real world. Poking fun at some of the dialog and effects, they outwardly wonder if films like Speed will be made in the future. Viewers, too, might wax nostalgic for a time when cell phones were the size of bricks, Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves were young up-and-comers, a bunch of American strangers could actually work together, and the biggest threat was one madman, rather than many.

‘Speed’ Racing to 4K Ultra HD May 4

Jan de Bont’s action thriller Speed will motor to 4K Ultra HD for the first time May 4, including a limited-edition exclusive Best Buy Steelbook, from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

In the Fox film, Keanu Reeves stars as an L.A.P.D. SWAT team specialist who is sent to diffuse a bomb that a revenge-driven extortionist (Dennis Hopper) has planted on a city bus. But until he does, one of the passengers (Sandra Bullock) must keep the bus speeding through the streets of Los Angeles at more than 50 miles per hour — or the bomb will explode.

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Special features, which vary by product and retailer, include audio commentary by de Bont; audio commentary by Graham Yost and Mark Gordon; several making-of featurettes; extended scenes; and a Speed music video by Billy Idol.

The film, released theatrically in 1994, earned more than $350 million at the worldwide box office.

Best Buy’s ‘Speed’ 4K Steelbook

Netflix Working on Spanish-Language ‘BirdBox’ Movie Spin-Off

Netflix is reportedly working on a Spanish-language movie spin-off of BirdBox, the 2018 dystopian original thriller starring Sandra Bullock as a blindfolded mother attempting to safeguard her children against a predatory force that kills upon visual sight.

While not much is known about the new plot, the movie’s original director, Susanne Bier, will executive produce, along with others from the original’s production team.

“I can’t say much, but I can say that it is in development,” BirdBox author Josh Malerman told Inverse.com last October. “Sometimes it’s weird, all this secrecy, but I’m game.”

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BirdBox became one of Netflix’s first disclosed mega-viewer movie releases, generating 45 million viewers in its first week of release, 89 million in the first month. The impact of those numbers tempered after Netflix disclosed it tracks a viewer after 120 seconds of streaming.

The streamer has increasingly upped local-country content productions with an strategy of global distribution with captions or language dubbing. Current examples streaming on Netflix include France’s submarine thriller, The Wolf’s Call; Spain’s prison sci-fi horror movie The Platform;  South Korean romance Tune in for Love; and French drama I Am Jonas, among others.

 

 

 

Sandra Bullock to Star in Another Feature for Netflix

Following her role in Netflix’s Bird Box last year, Sandra Bullock is set to star in another feature for the service, which will be directed by Nora Fingscheidt.

Fingscheidt made her directorial debut with her film Systemsprenger, which premiered at the 2019 International Berlin Film Festival, where she won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Award for new perspectives in cinema. Since then, the film has won 24 international awards and was selected to represent Germany at the 2020 Academy Awards.

In Bullock’s upcoming movie, she will play Ruth Slater, who, released from prison after serving a sentence for a violent crime, re-enters a society that refuses to forgive her past. Facing severe judgment from the place she once called home, her only hope for redemption is finding the estranged younger sister she was forced to leave behind.

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The writer is Academy Award winner Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation). Producers are Academy Award winner Graham King for GK Films, Bullock for Fortis Films and Veronica Ferres for Construction Film. Executive producers are Nan Morales, Nicola Shindler, Sally Wainwright and Colin Vaines.

Bullock’s latest feature Bird Box remains one of Netflix’s top performing films and was watched by more than 80 million accounts in its first four weeks, according to the service.

Did Netflix’s ‘El Camino’ Run Out of Gas?

Netflix’s big-budget “Breaking Bad” movie sequel (El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie) from creator Vince Gilligan offers a lengthy tale of morality and redemption through the gritty eyes of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) — the meth-cooking partner-in-crime to high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston), whose character perished in the 2013 series finale.

El Camino — name of the 1978 Chevrolet Pinkman made his escape in the series conclusion — premiered on Netflix Oct. 11, reportedly generated 8.2 million viewers in the United States opening weekend, including an average of 6.5 million per minute, and 2.6 million per minute opening day, according Nielsen.

The viewership was on par with the “Breaking Bad” series run, with opening day streaming of El Camino topping the 1.5 million average household views for “Breaking Bad” episodes.

Some media reports say the data portended a strong theatrical weekend if Netflix bothered to distribute original movies via industry norms.

The data made news largely based on the “Breaking Bad” legacy and the fact Netflix remains secretive about ratings data of original programming.

Netflix has downplayed Nielsen data in the past contending it is limited to TV households and excludes portable devices and international viewership.

It also suggests the possibility El Camino hasn’t generated as much traction with subscribers as might be expected compared with other high-profile Netflix movies. Or perhaps Nielsen disclosed incomplete data.

Regardless, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CCO Ted Sarandos made no mention of the movie during the service’s Oct. 16 fiscal webcast — which was noteworthy.

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The service last year said a lot early about Bird Box, Sandra Bullock’s dystopian thriller that attracted 45 million households during its first week of release.

Kevin Costner’s Bonnie & Clyde thriller, The Highwaymen, generated 40-million first-month views, and Ben Affleck auctioneer Triple Frontier attracted 52 million households in 30 days.

The Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston original comedy Murder Mystery set an all-time weekend Netflix streaming record with 30.87 million views. Another 20 million streamed The Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus.

On the Oct. 16 webcast, however, Sarandos just talked about pending movie releases 6 Underground, The Irishman, Marriage Story and The Two Popes, among others.

“It’s our first time we’ve seen the scale and this volume of films in one quarter, so we’re really excited about it,” Sarandos said.

So where’s the El Camino excitement?

Netflix: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston Comedy ‘Murder Mystery’ Sets Biggest Opening Weekend with 30.8 Million Views

Netflix June 18 disclosed that its new Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston original comedy, Murder Mystery, set an all-time weekend streaming record with 30.87 million views.

The second Netflix comedy movie starring Sandler and Aniston — which launched June 14 — generated 13.37 million views in the United States and 17.5 million worldwide through June 15.

Netflix disclosed the info on Twitter.

The SVOD behemoth, which is typically reticent disclosing viewership data, has opened up this year revealing streaming data on select original movies, including Will Smith’s Bright with 11 million views; Bird Box with Sandra Bullock (45 million views) and The Christmas Chronicles (25 million) with Kurt Russell.

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Netflix Says 80 Million Households Streamed ‘Bird Box’ in Four Weeks

Netflix Jan. 17 disclosed that through its first four weeks, original movie Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock, was streamed by more than 80 million household worldwide.

Netflix previously disclosed that the film attracted 45 million households during its first week of release. Nielsen said that included 26 million households in the United States.

The post-apocalyptic thriller from Danish director Susanne Bier reportedly had a $19.8 million production budget.

Michael Pachter, digital media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, says Bird Box is an isolated phenomenon.

Pachter contends that the nature of Netflix subscriptions, where the consumption of additional content bears no additional cost, makes the streaming data for Bird Box analogous to the consumption of television programming, which is also subsumed in a pay-TV subscription.

He cited the recent college football championship game with 25 million viewers and President Trump’s national address with 43 million viewers as comparable to Bird Box numbers.

“We think that each of these broadcasts is more comparable to the 26 million viewers for Bird Box, since few (if any) people subscribed to cable TV solely in order to watch either broadcast, and each program has limited (if any) replay value,” Pachter wrote in a note. “While Bird Box definitely demonstrates the power of the Netflix platform to drive viewership of its originals, it will not necessarily lead to the long-term retention of subscribers.”

Analyst: ‘Bird Box’ Viewership Suggests Strong Q4 Netflix Sub Growth

Netflix’s fiscal fortunes on Wall Street largely revolve around meeting or exceeding subscriber growth projections. The more subs added, the less attention investors put on the streaming video pioneer’s ballooning content spend.

Netflix is estimating it added 9.4 million new subscribers worldwide in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018), including 1.5 million in the United States.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter contends Netflix will meet or exceed those numbers (perhaps gaining 1.7 million domestic sub additions) due to the global streaming success of original movie Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock.

The post-apocalyptic thriller was streamed by 45 million households during its first week of release last month, according to Netflix. Nielsen said 26 million households streamed the movie in the United States.

Pachter, in a Jan. 14 note, said the sub data meant that about 40% of domestic subscribers and 20% of international subs streamed the movie, suggesting that a larger than normal number of subscribers were active at quarter end.

“We think that the unusually high activity depressed churn [subs not renewing membership], leading to upside to both domestic and international subscriber additions, and we think that our above consensus Q4 subscriber estimates may prove to be conservative,” Pachter wrote. “We expect Netflix to highlight the success of Bird Box as a subscriber driver on its [fiscal] call.”

At the same time, Pachter believes Bird Box was an anomaly. He said comparing the 45 million viewers to the opening weekend of a major theatrical release is misleading. He said that the nature of Netflix’s business model puts no additional cost on subscribers consuming content – making it far more analogous to the consumption of television programming, which also is subsumed by a subscription.

“While Bird Box definitely demonstrates the power of the Netflix platform to drive viewership of its originals, it will not necessarily lead to the long-term retention of subscribers,” wrote Pachter.

Netflix reports Q4 results at the market close on Jan. 17.

 

Nielsen: 26 Million U.S. Netflix Subs Streamed ‘Bird Box’ During First Week

Nielsen has revealed that more than 26 million Netflix subscribers in the United States streamed original movie Bird Box during the its first week of release in December.

The data supports Netflix’s recent revelation that more than 45 million subs worldwide streamed the post-apocalyptic thriller starring Sandra Bullock as a single mother trying to safeguard her children against a mysterious force that makes people kill themselves after viewing it.

Netflix, per policy, does not disclose viewership data for original programming.

Notably, Bird Box was watched by fewer subscribers (3.5 million) on the first day (Dec. 21) of release than Netflix’s sci-fi thriller, Bright (5.4 million), starring Will Smith, which was released Dec. 13, 2017.

Bird Box, however, began to build subscriber momentum over the next days while Bright viewership declined. In addition, Netflix gave Box a very limited theatrical run in an attempt to comply with industry awards rules.

 

 

Netflix Warns Against ‘Bird Box’ Challenge

Netflix has taken to social media warning subscribers not to engage in the so-called Bird Box challenge, that began as an online meme challenging users to go about their daily lives blindfolded.

The Netflix original movie, which was viewed by more than 45 million Netflix households during its first week of release, stars Sandra Bullock as a single mom trying to safeguard her children in a post-apocalyptic world where a mysterious force makes people commit suicide when viewing it.

To avoid harm, survivors must remain blindfolded when outdoors.

“Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE,” Netflix tweeted. “We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.”