China Cracks Down on Social Media

In a Sept. 26th, 2017 post to Tech in Asia, Eva Xiao writes about the latest fines levied against the leading social media platforms in China - yet another sign of the efforts by Chinese authorities to prevent the spread of messages that are deemed unacceptable by the state.

"This year, government regulators have rolled out a number of new rules, like holding WeChat group owners responsible for content shared in their chat groups. In September, authorities arrested a man for complaining about police raids in the app.
Celebrity gossip social media accounts have also been muzzled. In June, 60 accounts were closed as China’s cyberspace authorities told tech firms to “actively propagate core socialist values.”
Earlier this year, the Chinese government ordered domestic telecom carriers to enforce a ban on virtual private networks (VPNs), which help users circumvent the “Great Firewall.” In July, Apple removed VPN-related apps from the China App Store to comply with Chinese laws."

Buster Keaton's Seven Chances (1925) - Great Comedy Chase Sequence

The 1925 film, Seven Chances, starring Buster Keaton, remains a landmark of cinematic comedy - with perhaps the greatest comedy chase scene ever in motion pictures.

The plot (since reworked into other rom-coms) involves a young man (Keaton's character) who will inherit seven million dollars per his late grandfather's will, but only if he marries by 7 p.m. on his 27th birthday - which is the very day the will is read. Buster's girlfriend (played by Ruth Dwyer) has been patiently waiting for Buster's proposal - but confusion about his motives (is it just for the money?) adds a complication - as do the 500 gold-digging wanna brides (extras Buster hired to chase him at the movie's climax) all of whom want to marry Buster for his money.

The Studios Are Facing a Crisis (and it Ain't Rotten Tomatoes)

Yves Bergquist, who works analyzing data at the School of Cinematic Arts at USC, has written a fascinating post about box office performance and reviews. His insights - which are his personal expression and not endorsed by his employer - into Box Office Economics in Turmoil are invaluable and entertaining reading: 

"Hollywood CFOs are closing out the Summer [of 2017], and it’s a Lannister kind of party. The worst Labor Day Weekend performance in 17 years; a bloodbath Summer box office in a near 20% retreat compared to 2016; bulletproof franchises underwater; even the mighty Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson took a beating. Summer 2017 was an Irwin Allen disaster."

Here, as of Sept. 2017, are the domestic gross numbers for some of Hollywood's worst performers in the summer of 2017:

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Box office: $37.1 million
Reported budget: $175 million

Rough Night
Box office: $22.1 million
Reported budget: $22 million

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Box office: $39.8 million
Reported budget: $180 million

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Box office: $172 million
Reported budget: $230 million

Logan Lucky
Box office: $16.6 million
Reported budget: $21 million

Alien: Covenant
Box office: $74 million
Reported budget: $97 million

The Mummy
Box office: $80.1 million
Reported budget: $125 million+

The Book Of Henry
Box office: $4.3 million
Reported budget: $10 million

The House
Box office: $25.6 million
Reported budget: $40 million

Box office: $58 million
Reported budget: $60 million

Randy Finch's Film Blog:

Thoughts from a film producer about making and distributing films.