Weekly Round-Up: 6/23/19-6/29/19
Cats (2019) Trailer Universally Panned
Few recent projects have been anticipated with as much of a combination of concern, intrigue, and downright uncertainty than Tom Hooper’s upcoming Cats (2019), an adaptation of the beloved Broadway musical that happens to be an adaptation itself of T.S. Eliot’s poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. With an impressive amount of star power in the cast, including but in no way limited to Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, and Jennifer Hudson, it has been hard to imagine it could be that bad. Well, with the debut of the first official trailer this past week, the internet has decided it in fact could be that bad. CNN declared “The Cats Trailer is Here and it’s horrifying the internet,” while A.V. Club goes as far to say that “Your eyeballs are not ready for the hours within the Cats trailer.” Much of this reaction stems from the fact that instead of costumes that supply the performers with practical fur, it seems that each performer has had their own personal coat of fur CGI’d onto their skin. The results are, to put it lightly, unnerving. Furthermore, the trailer leaves more questions than answers in terms of what sort of world this adaptation will be set in, and if it will be a straight translation of the play or something entirely different. No matter the result, the trailer certainly instills the worry that Cats may skew too far into the uncanny valley.
HBO Unveils More Glimpses into Upcoming His Dark Materials (2019-)
Among the many fantasy series that I inhaled as a younger reader, Philip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials has always remained in the same league as Harry Potter and D.J. Machale’s Pendragon saga as favorites. I confirmed this fact last summer when I reread the trilogy in preparation for Pullman’s return to the His Dark Materials universe with the prequel novel The Book of Dust. And so, I was overjoyed to hear the news that HBO and the BBC were putting together a television adaptation of the trilogy. Since the announcement, any news about the series has been voraciously snapped up by fans around the world, and this was no different this week when HBO presented new footage (including the trailer above) and stills from His Dark Materials (2019-), of which the first episodes are set to premiere come the fall. The last time a studio attempted to adapt Pullman’s beloved works we ended up with the egregiously neutered The Golden Compass (2007), and so my fingers, toes, and wits are crossed in hope that this attempt reaches a higher bar. With the esteemed records of both BBC and HBO behind it, my hopes are high.
Potential CBS-Viacom Acquisition Approaches Public Proposal
More and more, it seems that mega-mergers/acquisitions between major media companies are the new norm in the industry. The Disney-FOX acquisition and AT&T-Time Warner merger seemed to signal an open season for any entities wishing to throw their respective hats into the ring, and after years of rumors it seems that CBS and Viacom are preparing to make their own deal. Such an agreement would see the formerly partnered companies rejoining to create a single entertainment and news media conglomerate. In the entertainment realm, this deal would bring all the rights to Star Trek, Mission Impossible, and Showtime intellectual property under one roof to compete with different streaming platforms according to The Hollywood Reporter. While this deal would not be of the economic magnitude of the other deals that have already been struck, it would give the new company 20.2% of all national ad revenue resulting in increased visibility across network and cable channels. Time will tell if the deal ever becomes more than a dream, but the same Hollywood Reporter article states that sources on the inside expect a possible deal to be announced in August 8th.