“Movie production companies are cooking up an almost perfect, what I’m going to call “marvelesque” formula, in order to get people watching.” And the numbers confirm that it’s working, writes the “CityNews” star of streaming, NICK OVERALL.
WHERE once we counted tickets sold for insight into how hot a new movie might be, it’s now about how many views it can rack up on a streaming service.
Netflix’s newest original film “The Old Guard” has become a quick hit, rising to join the ranks of the site’s most streamed, self-produced films.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it falls into the unstoppable Goliath of the superhero genre. You only need to have a squiz at the premise to see why it’s getting clicks. My best attempt to summarise is: a covert team of “super immortal mercenaries” who can heal themselves are at threat of exposure to the world and must combine their powers in order to protect their identities and freedom.
Sound a bit familiar? It’s “X-Men” cross “The Avengers” cross “The Expendables” cross “The Umbrella Academy” cross “Watchmen” cross “Titans” cross… you no doubt see what I’m getting at.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good superhero flick as much as the next devotee. My view is that what Marvel studios pulled off with their cinematic universe and “The Avengers” is incredible. Although hard to avoid the dreaded “derivative” word, what “The Old Guard” seems to demonstrate is that production companies are cooking up an almost perfect, what I’m going to call “marvelesque” formula, in order to get people watching and it’s working.
I wonder if you’re with me though, in thinking it might be time for something new?
On the current hype of “The Old Guard”, Netflix has backed itself by releasing its top 10 most streamed original films.
The Chris Hemsworth military fuelled blockbuster “Extraction” that I covered earlier this year was revealed as number 1 with a whopping 99 million views. The 2018 hit “Bird Box”, the horror movie about monsters you can’t look at, closely follows at 89 million views.
Now breaking 70 million, “The Old Guard” has just jumped to the number 6 spot, moving past Martin Scorsese’s 2019 masterpiece “The Irishman”, and it looks set to climb the ladder even further.
The list also shows that star power, whether on the big screen or streamed at home, still remains such a draw card for viewership. You’ve got Sandra Bullock in “Bird Box”, Mark Wahlberg in “Spenser Confidential” (#3 on the list), Ryan Reynolds in “6 Underground” (#4), Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston in “Murder Mystery” at #5, and on it goes.
I’m not pointing out much by saying that with few exceptions, the films on this list don’t really fit the bill of “original” in the truest sense. Not that it makes them any less enjoyable but I’m sure I’m not alone in being excited to see “The Platform”, a unique Spanish science fiction film, make it to the list in the #9 spot.
SPEAKING of something new, over on Apple TV+ they’ve got a big new film trying to give Netflix a run for its money.
Tom Hanks stars as a World War II US Navy commander in “Greyhound”. His job is to lead an allied convoy through what’s now known as one of the largest naval battles in history: The Battle of the Atlantic.
“Greyhound” isn’t based on a true story per se, but is rather an action-packed, 90-minute window into what the battle could have looked like for many, seen through the eyes of fictional characters.
Hanks also wrote the screenplay for this one. Although conquering the undoubtedly massive challenge of capturing the complexity of the battle was always going to be tough, its fast pace seems it’s a ride worth taking. I personally like the bonus of watching ones like this and then reading up about the history later.
While “Greyhound” and “The Old Guard” are on opposite ends of the genre spectrum, I reckon Tom Hanks is almost a real-life, all-healing superhero, don’t you?