House Bill 7039, as well as Senate Bill 1636, went before the Florida Legislature at this year’s Legislative Session, threatening to repeal the Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Council, according to Florida Politics. Even though the Legislature declined to approve a new film production program for 2020, the film industry successfully spoke out against HB 7039 with an amendment to the bill sparing the FFEAC which now awaits Governor Ron DeSantis’s signature. Floridians in the trade earn an average of eighty-two thousand dollars per year, which is two-thirds greater than the state average for all jobs, not to mention the businesses and tourism supported by film and television productions, raking in tax revenues for the government.
The “thriller” is difficult to differentiate from the film noir, horror, action, or suspense, according to The Manual. In an effort to define the parameters of the genre, writer Eric Shorey listed some of the best movies considered to be thrillers. The website’s ten best thrillers are: Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs (1991); Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct (1992); Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000); Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (2019); David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001); Park Chan-wook’s Lady Vengeance (2005); Rob Reiner’s Misery (1990); Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011); Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945); as well as Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (1999).
The accelerated spread of Covid-19 is crippling the entertainment industry, perhaps more so than any other, because the theatergoing experience as we know it is already vulnerable from the advent of streaming services, according to Quartz. After all, studios, as well as production companies, own offices and sets all over the world, and you can’t work from home on a film shoot. While this year’s global box office is projected to underperform (having lost as much as five billion dollars so far), if movie theaters in China and other major markets remain closed all year, they may not open again.
Swedish film and stage star Max von Sydow, known for his collaborations with filmmaker Ingmar Bergman on stage as well as onscreen, has died at ninety years old, according to The Guardian. Born Carl Adolph Von Sydow to a family of academics in Lund, he was a Catholic school student before serving in the military, after which time, he attended the acting school at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm from 1948 to 1951. He would go on to be nominated for two Academy Awards, for Bille August’s Pelle the Conqueror (1987) and Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011).
The Guardian contributor Róisín Tapponi writes that Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) eschews the male gaze in favor of “the lesbian gaze.” The film stars Noémie Merlant as the liberated Marianne, an artist secretly commissioned to paint a portrait of the sexually repressed Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) until the two women fall in love with each other. According to Tapponi, the difference between the male gaze and the lesbian gaze is touching versus looking – where male-directed lesbian romances are full of gratuitous sex, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is more about sensuality as well as intimacy.
At Blumhouse, Jason Blum produced Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man (2020) for seven million dollars (before marketing and distribution), so, when the science fiction thriller starring Elisabeth Moss opened to twenty-nine million dollars, it became a hit, according to Variety. For Universal, it was close to the thirty-one-million-dollar debut for Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy (2017), but The Mummy cost three hundred fifty million dollars to shoot and promote, making The Invisible Man more profitable. Overseas, The Invisible Man even went on to gross an additional twenty million dollars at the international box office, in spite of the coronavirus outbreak.
Shudder’s Cursed Films (2020-) is a documentary series which will look at the ill-fated production stories behind: Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist (1982); William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973); Richard Donner’s The Omen (1976); Alex Proyas’s The Crow (1994); as well as John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, and George Miller’s Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), according to Entertainment Weekly News. Those interviewed by the streaming service include: The Omen director Richard Donner; The Exorcist star Linda Blair; Kane Hodder; Michael Berryman; Troma Entertainment co-founder Lloyd Kaufman; Poltergeist III (1988) director Gary Sherman; Mitch Horowitz; and Blumhouse executive and Shock Waves podcast cohost Ryan Turek. The season premiere (The Exorcist) will screen April 2; on April 9, Poltergeist and The Omen ; and April 16, The Crow and Twilight Zone: The Movie.