Film | by Shane “Magic Popcorn” Hnetka

You may recall the Guardians of the Galaxy cast signed a statement supporting fired Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn after Disney canned him for offensive old tweets he’d long since apologized for. Now, actor Dave Bautista says he’s only returning for GOTG3 because he has to (contract). Gunn also has the support of a huge petition — over 350,000 signatures —  and even Marvel Studios, the subsidiary behind Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel, has asked its parent company to reconsider and re-hire. Will Disney budge?

Too Many Jungle Books

It’s always weird when similar movies come out around the same time. So it was to have been with Mowgli, directed by acclaimed CG actor Andy Serkis and scheduled for release in 2016 — the same year as Disney’s The Jungle Book.

Instead, Mowgli is taking a longer path to our eyeballs.

Warner Bros produced Mowgli at the same time Disney was making its own live-action (well, “live” action— it was mostly special effects) version of Rudyard Kipling’s famous book. Disney’s film was released in 2016, and it was a big hit. Mowgli, on the other hand, was pushed back and pushed back. It was finally going to see a theatrical release this fall.

Then Warner sold the movie to Netflix, which announced a theatrical release next year — accompanied by putting the movie on its streaming service. Some theatrical release.

Maybe I’m wrong but I think if Warner had faith in the film they wouldn’t have dumped it.

I’ll Pass

The U.S. subscription service MoviePass is in big trouble.

MoviePass members paid a $9.95 monthly fee to see up to a movie a day for that month. The idea was that MoviePass would reimburse theatres for tickets and make its money back by selling subscriber’s personal info to other companies and advertisers. Would it work? Hey, how many movies could a normal person go to in a month? How expensive could it be?


Turns out having to buy infinity tickets for over three million subscribers is unsustainable and this is a really dumb business model.

The fallout is underway. First, subscribers found themselves unable to use the MoviePass app. MoviePass took out a loan to get its service restored, but then blocked its users from movies during opening week. And the rules keep changing: MoviePass announced it would raise the monthly fee but then, after complaints, said that instead of raising rates users could only use the service three times a month.

Not surprisingly, subscribers are cancelling in droves but apparently MoviePass is automatically renewing their accounts.

MoviePass fights on. The company released a statement talking about revolutions in theatrical moviegoing and compared themselves to Uber. It was pretty bizarre.

I don’t know what’s going on but maybe MoviePass’ owners should stop sprinkling cocaine on their popcorn?

Shane Hnetka is a made-in-Saskatchewan film and comic book nerd. His column “Sunday Matinee” appears weekly on this website.