Discover more from Pop Culture Brain Daily
Harry Potter and the HBO Max TV Show
And streaming costs are stacking up
What to know
Accio TV show! As the IP wars rage on, it was only a matter of time until Warner Bros made a Wizarding World series — and now THR is reporting that such a project is in the works. While HBO Max is having “multiple conversations with potential writers exploring various ideas,” no talent is officially attached, nor are there any nailed down plot details, nor even a setting within the Potter timeline. There is still reason to be excited. Ever since IGN made this fake Aurors TV show trailer in 2011, I have anticipated the possibilities of a Wizarding World series. The big question—besides what it will be about—is how involved JK Rowling will be. Unfortunately, she’s still going to get a paycheck for the show (as an executive producer at the very least), but I personally would like to see a Wizarding World series in someone else’s hands.
Why that’s almost as much as a cable package! I think people have been making this joke since Netflix first started a streaming service, but we are definitely reaching its reality. Per a new JD Power survey, Americans subscribe to an average for 4 streaming services and pay $47/month for them (up from 3 and $38/month before the pandemic). Here’s a fun game, if you could only have 4 streaming services, which would you choose? I’d go Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, and Hulu — but it was very hard to cut Amazon.
Hey, this sounds pretty good! Boyega and De Niro will star in director Gerard McMurray’s The Formula, about a Formula One race car driver who turns to getaway driving. Any John Boyega casting news is good news. To see him get leading roles especially with how candid he is about the industry and racial injustice is also a great sign.
Remember when DVDs used to come with bonus features like movie commentary from filmmakers and actors? Hulu is bringing back the early ‘00s, baby. They turned the mics on Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, director Max Barbakow, and writer Andy Siara as a throwback treat for fans — or as a way to create more awards season buzz. Either way, it’s a cool thing and I hope streamers continue to do stuff like this. Seems like an easy way to wring more views out of the content.
Da 5 Bloods, Judas and the Black Messiah, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Mank, Minari, Nomadland, One Night in Miami, Soul, Sound of Metal and The Trial of the Chicago 7 are AFI’s picks for 2020, which often mirrors the Best Picture nominees. I’ve only seen 5 of these, seems I have catching up to do. On TV, AFI selected Better Call Saul, Bridgerton, The Crown, The Good Lord Bird, Lovecraft Country, The Mandalorian, Mrs. America, The Queen's Gambit, Ted Lasso and Unorthodox. I’m 7 for 11 on these, so I feel pretty good about that.
The WWE will stream on Peacock … because no one peacocks better than pro wrestlers 🤼♀️
AMC theaters has saved itself from bankruptcy, for now … good, because I want to see that guy throw popcorn in his own face again at some point 🍿
Hollywood elite are fighting to get early vaccine access … what a surprise 💉
Spielberg’s son Sawyer is an actor now … and his movie looks scary AF 😱
What to watch
Put Parasite and Slumdog Millionaire in a blender, add a sprinkle of Scarface, and you start to get at the vibe of The White Tiger, Ramin Bahrani’s new movie now on Netflix. I only bring up these films to give you a sense of its tone, because even to make these comparisons is to reduce this captivating and unforgiving satire of class struggle to something less unique. The movie breaks through its fourth wall to mock Slumdog Millionaire, in fact. While this brutal tale about social strata takes place in India, where class divisions are stark, it is 100% pitched at western audiences and leans into its self awareness to confront the viewer with their own culpability in inequality. The White Tiger’s metaphors are not subtle, but that’s just a part of its bravado. The other part is its subversion of Hollywood tropes and morality, that is both unsettling and darkly resonant. If Slumdog Millionaire was the glamorized, Obama-era western view of class comeuppance in India, The White Tiger is the gritty, post-Trump, post-2020 version. The wool has been pulled off a lot of eyes. Turns out, it came from a lamb eaten by a white tiger.
New notables this week:
Penguin Bloom — Jan 27 — Netflix movie | 69% RT | Naomi Watts, Andrew Lincoln, Jackie Weaver family drama
The Dig — Jan 29 — Netflix movie | 86% RT | Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes British historical drama
Finding O’hana — Jan 29 — Netflix movie | No RT yet | Hawaiian family adventure
The Little Things — Jan 29 — HBO Max movie | No RT yet | Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto neo-noir crime thriller
Palmer — Jan 29 — Apple TV+ movie | No RT yet | Justin Timberlake, Juno Temple, June Squibb indie drama
Before you go… Kevin Durant is already calling February’s big match up
Thanks for reading! If you like this and aren’t already subscribed, please consider signing up or forwarding this email.
As always, Tuesday and Wednesday editions are free, while the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday editions are accessible via monthly or the more-affordable yearly subscription. You can subscribe or upgrade via the ‘Subscribe Now’ button below.
Thoughts? Reply to this email or hit me up @alexrab on Twitter.
About the author: Alex Rabinowitz has led the way on social media and story packaging at media outlets big and small. With his acclaimed Tumblr site PopCultureBrain.com, Alex became a leading figure in emerging social networks and entertainment news. Sourced by many top destinations, including New York Magazine, BuzzFeed, and Videogum, Pop Culture Brain was featured by BuzzFeed and TIME as the best pop culture blog on Tumblr. Alex's writing has appeared on The Huffington Post, GQ.com, Mic, and Time Warner Cable.