Phooey to screen theatre at home

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“Hamilton”… Disney threw $75 million for the rights to now bring a recorded version of the stage production to its streaming platform.

Our native guide to the streaming jungle NICK OVERALL isn’t fussed about musicals on the home screen…

GOING to the movies at home? Sure, I think it’s manageable. Barely. Lights off, volume up, maybe some popcorn and it’s something close to a cinematic experience. 

Nick Overall.

Theatre at home though? I don’t think that’s an experience to compare.

Over the last few months a bidding war between multiple platforms has raged to acquire the rights to the phenomenon “Hamilton”, a stage production about American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. It’s raked in every possible award you can think of from Tonys, for excellence in Broadway, to Pulitzers, which go to the highest of creative talent.

Disney threw $75 million in the ring and took out the rights to now bring a recorded version of the stage production to its streaming platform Disney Plus, from July 3. 

It was originally slated for a cinematic release in 2021, but Disney’s shift to bring it to the convenience of homes represents another example of the way the pandemic has brought the future of entertainment consumption to the present.

I’d rather wait to experience the grandeur of a stage production in person, how it’s meant to be. With tickets sold out for so far in the future though, perhaps Disney and maybe soon other platforms will bring stage productions to stream as a “tie over” tactic. This could mean that you can see what all the fuss is about from the loungeroom, while you wait for a theatre seat in the distant future. 

Television, films and now stage productions, too? It’s getting even more overwhelming.

If all the content on offer has you a little confused on what to watch and where to find it, here’s a pro tip to make forays into the streaming world a little less daunting: chuck the words “just watch” into Google and the first result will greet you with a website where all the hard work has been done. 

You’ll see tabs of all streaming services in Australia neatly lined up for browsing. Click on any of them for a preview of the service’s entire catalogue so you know what’s available on that platform, before you go and pay for it.

Furthermore, if there’s a show or movie that’s particularly got your attention but you’re unsure of where to find it, the website also has a search function to tell you which service has the content you want to view.

A website like this becomes all the more useful as interestingly, we are beginning to see a movement away from free trial periods lots of the streaming services offer.

In the last few months, Netflix ditched their 30-day free trial, perhaps due to the confidence they have in their massive Australian market. 

It’s much easier to jump on a site such as Just Watch, rather than to go through those annoying motions we are all more than sick of: first name, last name, gender, age, email, credit card, mobile phone, your great aunt’s previous dog’s name for a security question in case you forget the password you’ve re-entered four times. 

All this just to get to your “free” trial that conveniently automatically renews at the end of the month should you forget to cancel. 

If sites such as Just Watch become the new way we “trial” what’s on a platform before we pay, then other services may get rid of their “free” periods as their library is now accessible for our investigation before we have to actually sign up.

It’s great to see the way our entertainment mediums continue to evolve and cross over in these ways, but maybe we don’t get too excited. There is that 2019 film adaptation of “Cats”, one of the “best worst movies ever made”, to keep in mind.

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