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Established streaming industry leaders like Netflix and Amazon are facing more competition than ever. Now legacy entertainment giants are in the game with their own subscription services, like Peacock, HBO Max, Paramount Plus, and the Disney Plus / Hulu / ESPN Plus bundle, while Apple TV Plus attacks around the edges. Meanwhile, the rise of ad-supported free platforms like Roku Channel and Pluto TV has attracted enough attention that Plex, YouTube, and Amazon’s Freevee are trying to get a chunk of the action too.

*Will Smith voice* Welcome to Miami.

Lionel Messi may not be playing much lately, but the Apple TV Plus promotional machine keeps chugging along. Today we have the first trailer for Messi Meets America, a six-part docuseries about the Argentina superstar’s arrival in MLS — which has been a big deal for Apple’s ambitions as a streamer. The show premieres on October 11th.

Sci-fi epics, soccer sims, and much more.

This week’s new entertainment releases cover a lot of ground. To start, there’s plenty on Netflix: the dark animated series Castlevania: Nocturne, the crime thriller Reptile, and Wes Anderson’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.

Meanwhile, Gareth Edwards’ sci-fi epic The Creator is in theaters, Counter Strike 2 is out on PC, EA Sports FC 24 is available on PC and console, and a new batch of Playdate games dropped.

<em>Castlevania: Nocturne.</em>


Castlevania: Nocturne.
Image: Netflix
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A very pretty restoration of a silent film is free to watch until midnight tonight.

The Signal Tower from 1924 was restored from a 16mm copy back in 2019 and got a new score in 2020. The film is a guy who changes railroad signals at the foot of a mountain. Everything is great until he and his wife reluctantly allow a fellow employee to board with them.

The film is considered one of the best of Universal’s early ones and what’s really impressive is just how goregously shot all its very real trains (and occasional train models) are. The film is a real treat and a good illustration of just how far (and in some cases not far) filmmaking has come.

It’s not embeddable but you can watch the whole film here. I’ve got it casting from my phone to my TV as we speak.

Silent Movie Day

[San Francisco Silent Film Festival]

The Verge
Netflix sends out its final DVDs today.

It’s the end of an era: Netflix’s 25-year-old DVD service officially comes to a close today. The streamer is sending out its last round of DVDs (which may include some bonus ones, too) to its remaining subscribers, who will get to keep their last discs as a memento of the red envelope service.

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A tabletop gaming company is suing Netflix for breach of contract.

Netflix hired Evil Genius to make a tabletop RPG based on Zack Snyder’s upcoming Rebel Moon, but now a lawsuit claims the streamer unfairly canceled the project over an alleged breach of its confidentiality agreement.

As reported by Gizmodo, Evil Genius Games claims the game — along with a 430-page player’s guide and a 337-page game master’s guide — was nearly finished when Netflix pulled the plug. Evil Genius is suing Netflix to receive compensation for its work and to release the game.

Listen to Casey Bloys avoid responding to my question about the upcoming Harry Potter show on Max.

He said there wasn’t enough time left to answer my question — but he also promised that Warner Bros. Discovery will some day. I’ll be waiting!

Casey Bloys didn’t address why Max greenlit a major new Harry Potter franchise in light of J.K. Rowling’s controversial comments toward the transgender community.

To be fair to Bloys, I asked him about it at Code 2023 at the end of his allotted time on stage. “With one minute left in our conversation, I’m not even going to get into that because that is a much longer, longer conversation.”

I tried to push him — Bloys deferred a similar question when the major new show was announced in April — and asked when Warner Bros. Discovery might talk about this. “At some point, we will,” Bloys said. “But not with a minute for a very complicated, nuanced topic, and I’m not going to do it.”

Max will only show CNN breaking news alerts for “big, big newsworthy” events.

HBO CEO Casey Bloys says Max won’t constantly interrupt your Succession streaming with breaking news alerts from CNN, as some reports previously suggested. Bloys says the event would “have to be really big to interrupt programming.”

HBO’s Casey Bloys thinks the streaming bundle was inevitable.

That isn’t a surprise given he works for David Zaslav, who has already started bundling his variety of streaming services and channels together into one super streaming app that replicates cable—right down to the monthly bill.

Max recently announced it’s bringing live CNN to the service.

“I am holding out the need for soul and human stories.”

Casey Bloys, the chairman and CEO of HBO and Max content, is pretty bearish on AI-generated TV shows and movies right now.

Casey Bloys premiered a new trailer for True Detective season 4 at Code 2023.

It stars Jodie Foster and Kali Reis. It looks excellent — and I’ve embedded the trailer below.

True Detective: Night Country kicks off on January 14th.

Seven minutes of Castlevania: Nocturne.

If you weren’t able to watch Netflix’s animation event live — which featured the premiere of the first three episodes of Castlevania: Nocturne — you can still get an early glimpse at the beginning of the debut episode in the clip below. Of course, it won’t be long before you can just watch the whole thing: Nocturne starts streaming on September 28th.

Geeked Week is coming back.

We don’t have any details yet, but Netflix has confirmed that its week-long, announcement-filled event will return in 2023. Geeked Week is typically filled with reveals spanning film, TV, and gaming, so you’ll likely want to tune in when it does happen.

The logo for Netflix Geeked Week 2023.
Image: Netflix
By the power of Grayskull.

The Kevin Smith-led Masters of the Universe reboot is coming back next year, and to celebrate, here’s a clip of He-Man fighting Scare Glow.

“Do you know this one girl with hair like this?”

In the latest clip for Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, we get a glimpse at some of the changes made in the animated version. Most notable: Ramona Flowers now delivers DVDs for Netflix. The show starts streaming on November 17th.

Disney’s next animated film has a trailer showing off its blend of animation styles.

Wish is meant to blend modern CGI animation with the gorgeous watercolor animation Disney was originally known for. That should make it similar looking to films like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Those are gorgeously animated films with the latter looking like a hand drawn book brought to three-dimensional life.

Wish definitely has more of a Frozen vibe than that, but you can see sparks of that blended animation in a few between clips of a goat talking about its butt.

Samurai showdown.

The latest addition to Netflix’s original anime lineup, Blue Eye Samurai tells the story of “Mizu, a mixed-race master of the sword who lives a life in disguise seeking the deliverance of revenge.” The series starts streaming on November 3rd.

A far cry from Far Cry.

Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix — an adaptation of the Far Cry spinoff Blood Dragon — starts streaming on October 19th, and you can get a taste of its cyberpunk world in this new trailer.

It’s Sonic time.

Here’s a quick look at the upcoming third chapter of Sonic Prime, which features a very serious Tails and a promise that it is “coming soon.”

Netflix Drop 01: all the news and trailers from Netflix’s animation event

Stay up to date on everything from Castlevania to Scott Pilgrim.

Netflix is about to... drop some news.

The streamer is kicking off an animation-focused event at 12PM ET, which will include fresh looks at Castlevania: Nocturne and Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, among others. You can watch it in the video below or stay tuned right here for all the latest.

The Verge
CNN’s 24/7 livestream hits Max today.

If you’re subscribed to Max, you can gain free access to a constant stream of news and original content from CNN starting today from the service’s News Beta or CNN Max Hub sections.

Some of the programming that will appear during the 24/7 stream include Anderson Cooper 360, The Lead with Jake Tapper, and Amanpour, along with new shows “built specifically for the Max streaming audience,” like CNN Newsroom with Jim Acosta.

Today on The Vergecast: Are DVDs dead? Or are they due for a comeback?

This week I bought a DVD, for journalism. Because with Netflix’s disc-delivery service coming to an end, we wanted to know: what’s next for physical movies and TV? We asked Redbox’s owner that very question. Then we talked about streaming metrics, why they matter, and whether they actually mean anything at all.

(Also, we wrapped this episode just before the news hit that the writers’ strike was over. We’ll have lots more on that later this week.)

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The marathon meeting that helped end the writers strike.

The Hollywood Reporter has a good read this morning on the last-minute negotiations to end the writers strike. It seems to come pretty much entirely from the studios’ perspective, but it’s a good read anyway.

Apparently the writers guild and the studios were barely even negotiating — everybody was waiting on the other side to make a move. But with the help of some showrunners and some late-night negotiating, a deal finally got done. And then almost fell apart. And then finally got done for real.

The new WGA contract will change how Hollywood works

Historic raises and guarantees on AI use will have major ramifications in Hollywood, but the new transparency in streaming data means Netflix and Disney Plus will have to change how they work.

The Scott Pilgrim Takes Off hype is getting a little out of hand.

It can be really interesting to hear creators talk about how much money streaming studios like Netflix pour into their projects. But Scott Pilgrim Takes Off executive producer BenDavid Grabinski’s recent assertion to Empire magazine that the animated series would cost more than a “live-action” version of James Cameron’s Avatar raises more questions than it answers.

Another dino doc.

With Prehistoric Planet, Apple TV Plus showed that dinosaurs are a great fit for the classic nature doc format. Now Netflix is doing something similar. Life on Our Planet explores the rise and fall of animal dynasties over the years, which involves visualizing a number of extinct species — including dinos.

The show is executively produced by Steven Spielberg, narrated by Morgan Freeman, and starts streaming on October 25th.