Amazon Reveals 2017 Ratings: ‘The Grand Tour,’ ‘Sneaky Pete’ Top Most-Watched Series

http://www.indiewire.com/2018/01/amazon-ratings-most-watched-original-shows-2017-grand-tour-sneaky-pete-1201912737/

Bucking conventional practices when it comes to streaming services and their (typically secret) ratings, Amazon has released data on their most-watched series of 2017.

Globally, “The Grand Tour” Season 1 was the top series of the year, with “Sneaky Pete” Season 1 coming in second, “The Man in High Castle” landing in third for Season 1 and fourth for Season 2, while “The Tick” snuck in at the No. 5 slot. Those rankings were the same for U.S. viewership, except No. 1 and No. 2 switched, as “Sneaky Pete” took the top slot in the States.

Notably, two of these seasons — “Sneaky Pete” and “The Tick” — were new to Amazon in 2017. “The Grand Tour” debuted in November 2016, and its second season has only been available since Dec. 8.

But there’s more good news for “The Grand Tour,” as well as another new Amazon series, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” According to the report, Dec. 30 was the biggest streaming day of the year, and “The Grand Tour” Season 2 and the new Amy Sherman-Palladino series were the top streamed series that day.

As for movies, the most streamed film available on Prime in 2017 was the Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell holiday comedy, “Daddy’s Home,” followed by Michael Bay’s “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” and the original “Iron Man” movie. Those rankings remained the same globally and in the U.S.

A few other choice tidbits from the report:

  • “Wonder Woman” was the top movie rented or purchased globally.
  • “Bubble Guppies,” a children’s show on Nick Jr., was the most downloaded series globally and in the U.S.
  • “The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” was the most downloaded movie globally and in the U.S.
  • Prime members streamed the least overall content on April 3, the same day as the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
  • Austin, TX was home to the highest streams per customer in the U.S. last year, while Vienna, Austria took the global crown.
  • “Sneaky Pete” had the highest number of streaming customers among Amazon Original series in most U.S. cities, but in our nation’s capital of Washington D.C. — and the political capital of the world — “The Man in the High Castle” had the most streaming customers.

Take a look at the full report below:

Top Series for Prime globally:

  • Grand Tour (Season 1)
  • Sneaky Pete (Season 1)
  • The Man in the High Castle (Season 1)
  • The Man in the High Castle (Season 2)
  • The Tick

Top Movies for Prime Globally:

  • Daddy’s Home
  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
  • Iron Man
  • Dirty Grandpa
  • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Top Series Rented or Purchased Globally:

  • Game of Thrones (Season 7)
  • The Walking Dead (Season 7)
  • The Walking Dead (Season 8)
  • PAW Patrol (Volume 1)
  • This Is Us (Season 1)

Top Movies Rented or Purchased Globally:

  • Wonder Woman
  • Arrival
  • Sing
  • Trolls
  • The Accountant

Most Downloaded Series Globally:

  • Bubble Guppies (Season 1)
  • Mr. Robot (Season 1)
  • The Grand Tour (Season 1)
  • The Man in the High Castle (Season 1)
  • Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (Season 1)

Most Downloaded Movies Globally:

  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 2)
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
  • Interstellar
  • Daddy’s Home

Most Watched – HBO (U.S.) on Amazon Channels:

  • Game of Thrones (Season 7)
  • Game of Thrones (Season 1)
  • Game of Thrones (Season 6)
  • Big Little Lies (Season 1)
  • Westworld (Season 1)

Most Watched – Showtime (U.S.) on Amazon Channels:

  • Shameless (Season 7)
  • Homeland (Season 6)
  • Shameless (Season 8)
  • Billions (Season 2)
  • Twin Peaks: The Return (Season 1)

Most Watched – Starz (U.S.) on Amazon Channels:

  • Power (Season 5)
  • American Gods
  • Outlander
  • Outlander (Season 1, Volume 1)
  • Outlander (Season 2, Volume 1)

Most Streamed Series in U.S.:

  • Sneaky Pete – Season 1
  • The Grand Tour Season 1
  • The Man In the High Castle – Season 1
  • The Man in the High Castle – Season 2
  • The Tick

Most Streamed Movies in U.S.:

  • Daddy’s Home
  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
  • Iron Man
  • Dirty Grandpa
  • Star Trek Beyond

Most Downloaded Series in U.S.:

  • Bubble Guppies Season 1
  • Mr. Robot, Season 1
  • The Man In the High Castle – Season 1
  • The Grand Tour Season 1
  • Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Season 1

Most Downloaded Movies in U.S.:

  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
  • Interstellar
  • Daddy’s Home


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James Gunn Thinks Jodie Foster’s Negative Opinions on Hollywood Are ‘Old-Fashioned’

http://www.indiewire.com/2018/01/james-gunn-jodie-foster-film-old-fashioned-1201912603/

Jodie Foster’s recent interview with Radio Times has gone viral thanks to the two-time Oscar winner’s thoughts on the current state of Hollywood and blockbuster filmmaking. Foster told the outlet that the movies coming out of major Hollywood studios these days are “ruining the viewing habits of the American population and then ultimately the rest of the world.”

“Going to the movies has become like a theme park,” Foster said. “Studios making bad content in order to appeal to the masses and shareholders is like fracking — you get the best return right now but you wreck the earth…It’s ruining the viewing habits of the American population and then ultimately the rest of the world. I don’t want to make $200 million movies about superheroes.”

Foster even said that she finds herself questioning her own career choices given what Hollywood has become in the 21st century. “Why didn’t I go into law school?,” Foster admitted she asks herself. “Why didn’t I pursue the path of academia?”

Foster’s interview has prompted responses across the internet, including one from “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn in which he shares his belief that Foster looks at film in an old fashioned way. The director took to Twitter to provide a rebuttal to Foster’s comments, noting how Hollywood’s spectacle-driven movies don’t always have to be mind-numbing and soulless.

“I think Foster looks at film in an old-fashioned way where spectacle film can’t be thought-provoking,” Gunn said. “It’s often true but not always. Her belief system is pretty common and isn’t totally without basis. I say not without basis because most studio franchise films are quite soulless – and that is a real danger to the future of movies. But there are also quite a few exceptions.”

“For cinema to survive I believe spectacle films need to have a vision and heart they traditionally haven’t,” he continued. “And some of us are doing our best to move in that direction. Creating spectacle films that are innovative, humane, and thoughtful is what excites me about this job.”

Blockbusters released last year such as “Blade Runner 2049,” “Logan,” “War for the Planet of the Apes,” and “Wonder Woman” certainly prove Gunn’s point about spectacle films having vision and heart. But that doesn’t mean Gunn doesn’t understand where Foster is coming from. The actresses’ thoughts are shared by many, and it’s hard to deny that a majority of studio blockbusters aren’t mind-numbing. Here’s hoping 2018 offers more innovative spectacle than usual.


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‘The Last Jedi’: Rian Johnson Explains Why Shattering Fan Theories About Rey’s Parents Was Essential

http://www.indiewire.com/2018/01/star-wars-last-jedi-rian-johnson-rey-parents-kylo-ren-1201912690/

Spoiler Warning: This article discusses the major plot points of “The Last Jedi.”

Rian Johnson isn’t finished talking about “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” spoilers, which means polarizing fan reactions will continue to thrive well into the new year. The director’s recent interview with The Huffington Post is causing quite the stir among “Star Wars” fans online due to a cryptic line in which Johnson says “anything’s still open,” which the interviewer relates to the mystery surrounding Rey’s parents even though Johnson is speaking more generally.

“The Last Jedi” seemed to have answered the question mark hanging over Rey’s parentage when Kylo Ren revealed that her mother and father were not anyone famous in the “Star Wars” canon and not anyone special at all, for that matter. He said her parents were poor drunk gamblers who sold Rey off, and he forced her to confront the feeling that she always knew this was the truth as well. Rey even confirmed she knew deep down they were no one special.

The answer was bound to be a disappointment for anyone who spent the hiatus between “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” speculating and theorizing who Rey’s parents were and whether or not she was a Skywalker or some other important offspring.

Johnson told HuffPo that when he was writing the script for “The Last Jedi” and it came time to address Rey’s parents, the reveal was going to have to answer the following question in a way that best serviced Rey’s arc moving forward: “What’s going to make life hardest on her?” Johnson says that when Luke learns Darth Vader is his father in “The Empire Strikes Back” it’s “the hardest thing the character could possibly hear in that moment.” For Rey, the hardest thing would be hearing she’s not special at all.

“And same thing with Rey and her parentage,” Johnson said. “The easy thing would be, ‘Yes, your parents are so and so and here’s your place in the world. There you go.’ The hardest thing she could hear would be […] ‘No, you’re not going to get the answer. This is not going to define you. You’re going to have to find your own place in this world. Kylo is going to use that even as leverage to try and make you feel insecure, and you’re going to have to stand on your own two feet.’”

The reveal in “The Last Jedi” shattered a majority of fan theories, but some people have persisted that Kylo’s story is just a diversion and that he’s lying to Rey and that Episode IX will reveal the actual truth about the character’s parentage. HuffPo’s interview only feeds the fire when it states that “Johnson told us the truth is still ‘open.'”

“Anything’s still open, and I’m not writing the next film,” he said. “[J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio] are doing it.” Johnson appeared to be speaking more about the franchise as a whole, but technically that would also include the actual truth behind Rey’s parents.

Johnson’s statement has left the possibility open for more clarification about Rey’s parents moving forward into the next installment. But if Kylo’s words end up just being a fake out, anyone who enjoyed the twist in “The Last Jedi” will surely be disappointed. Either way, the resolution about Rey’s parents will remain one of the most divisive parts of the new “Star Wars” trilogy.


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Cutting ‘Lady Bird’: Greta Gerwig and her Editor Tackled a Bittersweet Mother-Daughter Love Story

http://www.indiewire.com/2018/01/lady-bird-greta-gerwig-editing-story-1201912643/

Lady Bird,” actress Greta Gerwig’s remarkable directorial debut, offered one of the season’s best examples of editing, courtesy of Nick Houy (“Billions”). His sharp cuts and sense of balance help to navigate a perilous coming-of-age story for the eponymous teen (Saoirse Ronan) from the wrong side of the tracks in Sacramento of 2002. At the same time, Houy keeps the focus on the bittersweet conflict between Lady Bird and her mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf).

(WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW)

In fact, this is where the heart and soul of “Lady Bird” resides and why Gerwig, Ronan, Metcalf, and Houy are all strong contenders for Oscar nominations. “From the very first shot, it’s evident that it’s a mother-daughter love story,” said Houy, who was introduced to Gerwig by editor Jen Lame (“Frances Ha,” “Mistress America”). “It was always by design. We just brought it to the level that it needed to be. It took a long time to get it just right but we got it.”

"Lady Bird"

“Lady Bird”

A24

Houy found Gerwig to be a kindred spirit. He was familiar with Sacramento and had an appreciation for the time and place and dynamics of Lady Bird’s desire to explore her individuality before going off to college. And, although the director was often in the room with him throughout the editing process, she also gave him the freedom to cut scenes on his own.

“There are some days where I just need to go to very strange places…and explore every part of an emotion and mine it for what the scene is really trying to say,” Houy added. “Sometimes it’s not useful for her to go there with me, necessarily, or I’m not able to go there with her. It’s a personal thing. But there were other times when she needs to see how it’s built to understand how it’s working.”

The College Road Trip

The intimacy between mother and daughter and the fun and fighting between them are displayed at the outset during a college road trip. “The very first scene they’re in bed facing each other in the motel room,” Houy said. “You immediately understand their dynamic.”

Then during the car ride home, after enjoying an audio tape of “The Grapes of Wrath,” they start arguing about Lady Bird wanting to leave Sacramento, ending with the shock of her jumping out of the car. (She breaks her arm.)

“Lady Bird”

“But instead of doing it in one long take, the editor broke it up to do the performances justice. “I played with the rhythm of cutting back and forth to create tension between them,” Houy said. “A oner would’ve been too relaxed and too
neutral.”

A Consoling Bridge Scene 

Lady Bird’s first crush ends in heart break when she discovers her boyfriend, Danny (Lucas Hedges) kissing another guy in the bathroom during their rehearsal of “Merrily We Role Along.” However, this leads to a tender reconciliation outside a coffee shop, which serves as a reminder of the compassion she shares with her mother. But the scene changed drastically during the edit.

Lucas Hedge and Saoirse Ronan in "Lady Bird"

Lucas Hedge and Saoirse Ronan in “Lady Bird”

A24

“There was a lot of dialogue after the embrace of Danny outside the coffee shop,” said Houy. “They talked about his kissing the boy and what happened after and what they were going to do next with their relationship. But we cut everything after that. We needed to end it on the hug and ride that emotion, and that was a breakthrough for that part of the film.”

Finding the Right Ending

Eventually, Lady Bird gets her wish to attend college in New York and experiences an epiphany about herself and her mother, which concludes with a phone call and reconciliation. But there was an important epiphany as well for the director and editor.

“Lady Bird”

A24

“I always thought we had to do something extraordinary,” Houy said. “And we had all the elements there. You could just have her do the phone call and hang up, and that’s the way it was scripted and how we did our first cut. It’s just that it needed to be taken to the next emotional level.

“We had this great reel of her driving around and Laurie driving around and happened to have shot it with the same camera rig,” added Houy. “So we were able to throw in shots of them both driving, and cross-cut them, and it brought this immediate impact that took it back to the opening road trip.”

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