Wattpad’s latest deal will turn its stories into TV shows and movies in Korea

Wattpad’s ambitions to grow beyond a storytelling community for young adults took another leap forward today with the announcement of a new partnership that will help expand its reach in Asia. The company has teamed up with Huayi Brothers in Korea, who will now be Wattpad’s exclusive entertainment partner in the region. The two companies […]

Wattpad’s ambitions to grow beyond a storytelling community for young adults took another leap forward today with the announcement of a new partnership that will help expand its reach in Asia. The company has teamed up with Huayi Brothers in Korea, who will now be Wattpad’s exclusive entertainment partner in the region. The two companies will co-produce content sourced from Wattpad’s community, as it’s adapted for film, TV and other digital media projects in the country.

Development deals like this are not new to Wattpad at this point.

In the U.S., the storytelling app made headlines for bringing the teen hit “The Kissing Booth” to Netflix, which shot up to become the No. 4 movie on IMDb for a time.

Wattpad also recently announced a 2nd season for “Light as a Feather,” which it produces with AwesomenessTV and Grammnet for Hulu.

It additionally works with eOne, Sony, SYFY, Universal Cable Productions (a division of NBCUniversal), and Germany’s Bavaria Fiction.

Outside the U.S., Wattpad has 26 films in development with iflix in Indonesia.

And WattPad’s feature film “After,” based on Anna Todd’s novel, will arrive in theaters on April 12.

Key to these deals is Wattpad’s ability to source the best content from the 565 million some stories on its platform. Do to so, it uses something it calls its “Story DNA Machine Learning technology,” which helps to deconstruct stories by analyzing things like sentence structure, word use, grammar and more in order to help identify the next big hits using more than just readership numbers alone.

The stories it identifies as promising are then sent over to content specialists (aka human editors) for further review.

This same combination of tech and human curation has been used in the past to help source its writing award winners and is now being used to find the next stories to be turned into novels for its new U.S. publishing arm, Wattpad Books.

In addition to its hit-finding technology, studios working with Wattpad also have a way to reach younger users who today are often out of touch with traditional media, as much of youth culture has shifted online.

These days, teens and young adults are more likely to know YouTube stars than Hollywood actors. They’re consuming content online in communities like Reddit, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and elsewhere. And when it comes to reading, they’re doing more of that online, too – whether that’s through chat fiction apps like Hooked or by reading Wattpad’s longer stories.

Wattpad says it now has 70 million uses worldwide, who now spend 22 billion combined minutes per month engaged with its website and app.

With the Korean deal, Wattpad is further growing its international footprint after several other moves focused on its international expansions.

For example, today’s news follows Wattpad’s raise of $51 million in funding from Tencent; its appointment of its first Head of Asia for Wattpad Studios, Dexter Ong, last year; and its hiring of its first GM of India, Devashish Sharma, who is working with local partners to turn its stories into movies, TV, digital and print in the region.

Huayi Brothers Korea hasn’t announced any specific projects from the Wattpad deal at this point, but those will follow.

“Wattpad’s model is the future of entertainment, using technology to find great storytellers and bring them to an international audience,” said, Jay Ji, CEO, Huayi Brothers Korea, in a statement. “In an era of entertainment abundance, working with Wattpad means access to the most important things in the industry: a data-backed approach to development, and powerful, proven stories that audiences have already fall in love with,” he said.

Digital influencers and the dollars that follow them

Sunny Dhillon Contributor Sunny Dhillon is a partner at Signia Venture Partners. More posts by this contributor Security tokens will be coming soon to an exchange near you Amazon’s next conquest will be apparel Animated characters are as old as human storytelling itself, dating back thousands of years to cave drawings that depict animals in […]

Animated characters are as old as human storytelling itself, dating back thousands of years to cave drawings that depict animals in motion. It was really in the last century, however—a period bookended by the first animated short film in 1908 and Pixar’s success with computer animation with Toy Story from 1995 onwards—that animation leapt forward. Fundamentally, this period of great innovation sought to make it easier to create an animated story for an audience to passively consume in a curated medium, such as a feature-length film.

Our current century could be set for even greater advances in the art and science of bringing characters to life. Digital influencers—virtual or animated humans that live natively on social media—will be central to that undertaking. Digital influencers don’t merely represent the penetration of cartoon characters into yet another medium, much as they sprang from newspaper strips to TV and the multiplex. Rather, digital humans on social media represent the first instance in which fictional entities act in the same plane of communication as you and I—regular people—do. Imagine if stories about Mickey Mouse were told over a telephone or in personalized letters to fans. That’s the kind of jump we’re talking about.

Social media is a new storytelling medium, much as film was a century ago. As with film then, we have yet to transmit virtual characters to this new medium in a sticky way.

Which isn’t to say that there aren’t digital characters living their lives on social channels right now. The pioneers have arrived: Lil’ Miquela, Astro, Bermuda, and Shudu are prominent examples. But they have are still only notable for their novelty, not yet their ubiquity. They represent the output of old animation techniques applied to a new medium. This Techcrunch article did a great job describing the current digital influencer landscape.

So why haven’t animated characters taken off on social media platforms?  It’s largely an issue of scale—it’s expensive and time-consuming to create animated characters and to depict their adventures.  One 2017 estimate stated that a 60-90 second animation took about 6 weeks.  An episode of animated TV takes between 13 months to produce, typically with large teams in South Korea doing much of the animation legwork. That pace simply doesn’t work in a medium that calls for new original content multiple times a day.

Yet the technical piece of the puzzle is falling into place, which is primarily what I want to talk about today. Traditionally, virtual characters were created by a team of experts—not scalable—in the following way:

  • Create a 3D model
  • Texture the model and add additional materials
  • Rig the 3D model skeleton
  • Animate the 3D model
  • Introduce character into desired scene

 

Today, there are generally three different types of virtual avatar:  realistic high-resolution CGI avatars, stylized CGI avatars, and manipulated video avatars. Each has its strengths and pitfalls, and the fast-approaching world of scaled digital influencers will likely incorporate aspects of all three.

The digital influencers mentioned above are all high-resolution CGI avatars. It’s unsurprising that this tech has breathed life into the most prominent digital influencers so far—this type of avatar offers the most creative latitude and photorealism. You can create an original character and have her carry out varied activities.

The process for their creation borrows most from the old-school CGI pipeline described above, though accelerated through the use of tools like Daz3D for animation, Moka Studio for rigging, and Rokoko for motion capture. It’s old wine in new bottles. Naturally, it shares the same bottlenecks as the old-school CGI pipeline: creating characters in this way consumes a lot of time and expertise.

Though researchers like Ari Shapiro at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies are currently working on ways to automate the creation of high-resolution CGI avatars, that bottleneck remains for obstacle for digital influencers entering the mainstream.

Stylized CGI avatars, on the other hand, have entered the mainstream. If you have an iPhone or use Snapchat, chances are you have one. Apple, Samsung, Pinscreen, Loom.ai, Embody Digital, Genies, and Expressive.ai are just some of the companies playing in this space. These avatars, while likely to spread ubiquitously a la Bitmoji before them, are limited in scope.

While they extend the ability to create an animated character to anyone who uses an associated app, that creation and personalization is circumscribed: the avatar’s range is limited for the purposes of what we’re discussing in this article. It’s not so much a technology for creating new digital humans as it is a tool for injecting a visual shorthand for someone into the digital world. You’ll use it to embellish your Snapchat game, but storytellers will be unlikely to use these avatars to create a spiritual successor to Mickey Mouse and Buzz Lightyear (though they will be a big advertising / brand partnership opportunity nonetheless).

Video manipulation—you probably know it as deepfakes—is another piece of tech that is speeding virtual or fictional characters into the mainstream. As the name implies, however, it’s more about warping reality to create something new. Anyone who has seen Nicolas Cage’s striking features dropped onto Amy Adams’ body in a Superman film will understand what I’m talking about.

Open source packages like this one allow almost anyone to create a deepfake (with some technical knowhow—your grandma probably hasn’t replaced her time-honored Bingo sessions with some casual deepfaking). It’s principally used by hobbyists, though recently we’ve seen startups like Synthesia crop up with business use cases. You can use deepfake tech for mimicry, but we haven’t yet seen it used for creating original characters. It shares some of the democratizing aspects of stylized CGI avatars, and there are likely many creative applications for the tech that simply haven’t been realized yet.

While none of these technology stacks on their own currently enable digital humans at scale, when combined they may make up the wardrobe that takes us into Narnia. Video manipulation, for example, could be used to scale realistic high-res characters like Lil’ Miquela through accelerating the creation of new stories and tableaux for her to inhabit. Nearly all of the most famous animated characters have been stylized, and I wouldn’t bet against social media’s Snow White being stylized too. What is clear is that the technology to create digital influencers at scale is nearing a tipping point. When we hit that tipping point, these creations will transform entertainment and storytelling.

Digital influencers and the dollars that follow them

Sunny Dhillon Contributor Sunny Dhillon is a partner at Signia Venture Partners. More posts by this contributor Security tokens will be coming soon to an exchange near you Amazon’s next conquest will be apparel Animated characters are as old as human storytelling itself, dating back thousands of years to cave drawings that depict animals in […]

Animated characters are as old as human storytelling itself, dating back thousands of years to cave drawings that depict animals in motion. It was really in the last century, however—a period bookended by the first animated short film in 1908 and Pixar’s success with computer animation with Toy Story from 1995 onwards—that animation leapt forward. Fundamentally, this period of great innovation sought to make it easier to create an animated story for an audience to passively consume in a curated medium, such as a feature-length film.

Our current century could be set for even greater advances in the art and science of bringing characters to life. Digital influencers—virtual or animated humans that live natively on social media—will be central to that undertaking. Digital influencers don’t merely represent the penetration of cartoon characters into yet another medium, much as they sprang from newspaper strips to TV and the multiplex. Rather, digital humans on social media represent the first instance in which fictional entities act in the same plane of communication as you and I—regular people—do. Imagine if stories about Mickey Mouse were told over a telephone or in personalized letters to fans. That’s the kind of jump we’re talking about.

Social media is a new storytelling medium, much as film was a century ago. As with film then, we have yet to transmit virtual characters to this new medium in a sticky way.

Which isn’t to say that there aren’t digital characters living their lives on social channels right now. The pioneers have arrived: Lil’ Miquela, Astro, Bermuda, and Shudu are prominent examples. But they have are still only notable for their novelty, not yet their ubiquity. They represent the output of old animation techniques applied to a new medium. This Techcrunch article did a great job describing the current digital influencer landscape.

So why haven’t animated characters taken off on social media platforms?  It’s largely an issue of scale—it’s expensive and time-consuming to create animated characters and to depict their adventures.  One 2017 estimate stated that a 60-90 second animation took about 6 weeks.  An episode of animated TV takes between 13 months to produce, typically with large teams in South Korea doing much of the animation legwork. That pace simply doesn’t work in a medium that calls for new original content multiple times a day.

Yet the technical piece of the puzzle is falling into place, which is primarily what I want to talk about today. Traditionally, virtual characters were created by a team of experts—not scalable—in the following way:

  • Create a 3D model
  • Texture the model and add additional materials
  • Rig the 3D model skeleton
  • Animate the 3D model
  • Introduce character into desired scene

 

Today, there are generally three different types of virtual avatar:  realistic high-resolution CGI avatars, stylized CGI avatars, and manipulated video avatars. Each has its strengths and pitfalls, and the fast-approaching world of scaled digital influencers will likely incorporate aspects of all three.

The digital influencers mentioned above are all high-resolution CGI avatars. It’s unsurprising that this tech has breathed life into the most prominent digital influencers so far—this type of avatar offers the most creative latitude and photorealism. You can create an original character and have her carry out varied activities.

The process for their creation borrows most from the old-school CGI pipeline described above, though accelerated through the use of tools like Daz3D for animation, Moka Studio for rigging, and Rokoko for motion capture. It’s old wine in new bottles. Naturally, it shares the same bottlenecks as the old-school CGI pipeline: creating characters in this way consumes a lot of time and expertise.

Though researchers like Ari Shapiro at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies are currently working on ways to automate the creation of high-resolution CGI avatars, that bottleneck remains for obstacle for digital influencers entering the mainstream.

Stylized CGI avatars, on the other hand, have entered the mainstream. If you have an iPhone or use Snapchat, chances are you have one. Apple, Samsung, Pinscreen, Loom.ai, Embody Digital, Genies, and Expressive.ai are just some of the companies playing in this space. These avatars, while likely to spread ubiquitously a la Bitmoji before them, are limited in scope.

While they extend the ability to create an animated character to anyone who uses an associated app, that creation and personalization is circumscribed: the avatar’s range is limited for the purposes of what we’re discussing in this article. It’s not so much a technology for creating new digital humans as it is a tool for injecting a visual shorthand for someone into the digital world. You’ll use it to embellish your Snapchat game, but storytellers will be unlikely to use these avatars to create a spiritual successor to Mickey Mouse and Buzz Lightyear (though they will be a big advertising / brand partnership opportunity nonetheless).

Video manipulation—you probably know it as deepfakes—is another piece of tech that is speeding virtual or fictional characters into the mainstream. As the name implies, however, it’s more about warping reality to create something new. Anyone who has seen Nicolas Cage’s striking features dropped onto Amy Adams’ body in a Superman film will understand what I’m talking about.

Open source packages like this one allow almost anyone to create a deepfake (with some technical knowhow—your grandma probably hasn’t replaced her time-honored Bingo sessions with some casual deepfaking). It’s principally used by hobbyists, though recently we’ve seen startups like Synthesia crop up with business use cases. You can use deepfake tech for mimicry, but we haven’t yet seen it used for creating original characters. It shares some of the democratizing aspects of stylized CGI avatars, and there are likely many creative applications for the tech that simply haven’t been realized yet.

While none of these technology stacks on their own currently enable digital humans at scale, when combined they may make up the wardrobe that takes us into Narnia. Video manipulation, for example, could be used to scale realistic high-res characters like Lil’ Miquela through accelerating the creation of new stories and tableaux for her to inhabit. Nearly all of the most famous animated characters have been stylized, and I wouldn’t bet against social media’s Snow White being stylized too. What is clear is that the technology to create digital influencers at scale is nearing a tipping point. When we hit that tipping point, these creations will transform entertainment and storytelling.

Hulu unexpectedly releases “Fyre Fraud” days before Netflix’s competing documentary

Not since the literary biopic showdown between “Capote” and “Infamous” has there been such an intense battle for the attention of viewers. This time, the fight is between Hulu and Netflix’s competing documentaries about the disastrous Fyre Festival, a 2017 music festival whose failure led to eight lawsuits and a six-year prison sentence for co-founder […]

Not since the literary biopic showdown between “Capote” and “Infamous” has there been such an intense battle for the attention of viewers. This time, the fight is between Hulu and Netflix’s competing documentaries about the disastrous Fyre Festival, a 2017 music festival whose failure led to eight lawsuits and a six-year prison sentence for co-founder Billy McFarland. Hulu unexpectedly released its film, “Fyre Fraud” today, just four days before Netflix’s “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” was scheduled to premiere. Both films are helmed by award-winning filmmakers.

Entertainment Today reports that Hulu hopes its documentary, directed by Emmy-nominated, Peabody-winning filmmaking team Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason “will provide enlightening context ahead of [co-executive producer Elliot] Tebele’s Netflix documentary.”

“Fyre Fraud” contains exclusive interviews with McFarland, who co-founded Fyre with rapper Ja Rule, and people who used to work for Tebele’s marketing agency FuckJerry, one of the festival’s promoters. Some of Tebele’s former employees claim in “Fyre Fraud” that Tebele asked them to cover up early warning signs about the festival.

McFarland was later sentenced six years to jail in for defrauding investors, while Ja Rule is fighting to be removed as a defendant from a $100 million class action lawsuit. Attendees paid thousands of dollars for tickets, expecting a luxury music festival in the Bahamas, but instead found themselves staying in tents, no Internet service, no water, and food like processed cheese sandwiches. Delayed flights made the experience even more nightmarish, as guests were forced to wait hours in the heat for their charter flights back to Miami.

In response, the makers of Netflix’s “Frye,” directed by Chris Smith (whose “American Movie” won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999), told Entertainment Weekly that even though they worked with Tebele and Jerry Media (a FuckJerry brand), “at no time did they, or any others we worked with, request favorable coverage in our film, which would be against our ethics. We stand behind our film, believe it is an unbiased and illuminating look at what happened, and look forward to sharing it with audiences around the world.”

Smith told Entertainment Weekly earlier this week that McFarland wasn’t included in the documentary because he “wanted to get paid” for appearing and “we didn’t feel comfortable with him benefitting after so many people were hurt as a consequence of his actions.”

TechCrunch has contacted Netflix and Hulu for comment.

Digital movie collection app Movies Anywhere adds its first pay TV partner, Comcast

Movies Anywhere, the Disney-led movie service operated in partnership Universal, WB, Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox, is adding its first pay TV partner. Starting today, Comcast Xfinity TV customers will be able to sync their accounts with Movies Anywhere in order to access their movie purchases from the Xfinity Digital Store alongside those from […]

Movies Anywhere, the Disney-led movie service operated in partnership Universal, WB, Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox, is adding its first pay TV partner. Starting today, Comcast Xfinity TV customers will be able to sync their accounts with Movies Anywhere in order to access their movie purchases from the Xfinity Digital Store alongside those from other digital retailers.

The movies can be accessed on Xfinity X1, in the Xfinity Stream app and on other Xfinity TV platforms.

The Movies Anywhere service first launched in 2014, as a way for Disney fans to aggregate their Disney, Pixar and Marvel film purchases in one place, including those bought through iTunes as well as those they owned on DVD or Blu-ray that came with a digital copy.

Last year, the service dropped “Disney” from its branding and branched out to include a variety of other digital retailers, including Amazon Prime Video, Google Play and VUDU. It also then allowed customers to aggregate more than just their Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar films, to include movies they own from Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner Brothers.

That made the service much more useful, as it became a one-stop shop for accessing your broader digital movie collection.

Now, Comcast customers can participate as well, bringing in to the app their own digital movie purchases. To encourage sign-ups, Movies Anywhere is again giving away free movies as part of its launch promotion. This time, customers who sync for the first time will receive a copy of “Happy Feet,” and those who sync for the first time with at least two digital retailers will also get “The Martian” and “The Fate of the Furious.”

After signing up and syncing with the various digital stores, Comcast customers will be able to access their full movie collection for the first time through Comcast’s own platforms, as well. This includes streaming the movies on the TV through Xfinity on Demand, and on devices through the Xfinity Stream app and the web portal. Customers can also use the Movies Anywhere app or web portal across platforms to access their movie collection.

“Comcast is one of the country’s leading pay TV providers with a customer base that, like ours, consists of people who are passionate about the movies they love,” said Karin Gilford, General Manager, Movies Anywhere, in a statement. “We are thrilled to now include Comcast’s Xfinity TV customers among those who can benefit from Movies Anywhere’s ability to bring their favorite movies together in one place that can be accessed across a multitude of devices using the Movies Anywhere app and across Xfinity TV platforms.”

Digital movie collection app Movies Anywhere adds its first pay TV partner, Comcast

Movies Anywhere, the Disney-led movie service operated in partnership Universal, WB, Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox, is adding its first pay TV partner. Starting today, Comcast Xfinity TV customers will be able to sync their accounts with Movies Anywhere in order to access their movie purchases from the Xfinity Digital Store alongside those from […]

Movies Anywhere, the Disney-led movie service operated in partnership Universal, WB, Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox, is adding its first pay TV partner. Starting today, Comcast Xfinity TV customers will be able to sync their accounts with Movies Anywhere in order to access their movie purchases from the Xfinity Digital Store alongside those from other digital retailers.

The movies can be accessed on Xfinity X1, in the Xfinity Stream app and on other Xfinity TV platforms.

The Movies Anywhere service first launched in 2014, as a way for Disney fans to aggregate their Disney, Pixar and Marvel film purchases in one place, including those bought through iTunes as well as those they owned on DVD or Blu-ray that came with a digital copy.

Last year, the service dropped “Disney” from its branding and branched out to include a variety of other digital retailers, including Amazon Prime Video, Google Play and VUDU. It also then allowed customers to aggregate more than just their Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar films, to include movies they own from Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner Brothers.

That made the service much more useful, as it became a one-stop shop for accessing your broader digital movie collection.

Now, Comcast customers can participate as well, bringing in to the app their own digital movie purchases. To encourage sign-ups, Movies Anywhere is again giving away free movies as part of its launch promotion. This time, customers who sync for the first time will receive a copy of “Happy Feet,” and those who sync for the first time with at least two digital retailers will also get “The Martian” and “The Fate of the Furious.”

After signing up and syncing with the various digital stores, Comcast customers will be able to access their full movie collection for the first time through Comcast’s own platforms, as well. This includes streaming the movies on the TV through Xfinity on Demand, and on devices through the Xfinity Stream app and the web portal. Customers can also use the Movies Anywhere app or web portal across platforms to access their movie collection.

“Comcast is one of the country’s leading pay TV providers with a customer base that, like ours, consists of people who are passionate about the movies they love,” said Karin Gilford, General Manager, Movies Anywhere, in a statement. “We are thrilled to now include Comcast’s Xfinity TV customers among those who can benefit from Movies Anywhere’s ability to bring their favorite movies together in one place that can be accessed across a multitude of devices using the Movies Anywhere app and across Xfinity TV platforms.”

See you in Vancouver on Thursday

We’ve finalized the Vancouver micro meetup for this Thursday. We’ll be holding it at Hoot Suite HQ on 5, East 8th Ave at 7pm on October 4. Extra special thanks to the folks at Hoot Suite for helping out. You must RSVP here so we know how many are attending. If you’d like to pitch […]

We’ve finalized the Vancouver micro meetup for this Thursday. We’ll be holding it at Hoot Suite HQ on 5, East 8th Ave at 7pm on October 4. Extra special thanks to the folks at Hoot Suite for helping out.

You must RSVP here so we know how many are attending. If you’d like to pitch please fill out this form and I will contact you ONLY IF YOU ARE CHOSEN. The best pitch will win a table at Disrupt Berlin.

Since there will be no booze at the event we’ll have an extra special drinkathon at 9pm at a bar of your choosing. I’m open to suggestions.

I love doing these little meetups because it gives me a good view on the startup scene in a city so I hope you’ll join us. See you all soon!

AMC’s MoviePass competitor hits 380K users in 3 months, will increase U.S. attendance

As MoviePass flounders and runs out of cash, AMC’s competitive offering, AMC Stubs A-List, is scaling up quickly. The theater chain announced this morning the service is growing faster than anticipated, and has already signed up over 380,000 users in the three months since its late July launch. The growth is notable also because much […]

As MoviePass flounders and runs out of cash, AMC’s competitive offering, AMC Stubs A-List, is scaling up quickly. The theater chain announced this morning the service is growing faster than anticipated, and has already signed up over 380,000 users in the three months since its late July launch.

The growth is notable also because much of it occurred during the traditional slow time for theaters – the back-to-school season in late August and September, when summer blockbusters come to an end, and families are tied up with other obligations.

Despite this, AMC says it added 120,000 A-List members during the last six weeks, and its members watched over 363 different movie titles to date.

In addition, AMC is projecting that it will see increased U.S. attendance for the first time since 2015, excluding the bump it got by acquiring Carmike Cinemas.

Its movie subscription service, which launched July 26, offers theater goers the ability to watch up to 3 movies per week in any of AMC’s U.S. locations for $19.95 per month, plus tax. This includes speciality theaters, like IMAX, RealD 3D, and others, and it works with AMC’s tickets reservations system both online and in its mobile app.

AMC also took a swing at MoviePass today by reminding potential customers that its service offers a 12-month protection guarantee against changes to the program that could impact its pricing or benefits. That’s remarkably different from MoviePass, which continues to fiddle with pricing plans and is constantly limiting what the service includes.

For example, MoviePass recently began limiting access to specific films and showtimes, as well as the number of visits it supports. It also said it would raise pricing in July to $15 per month, up from $9.99, as its cash flow concerns became a critical issue – especially in the face of new threats like AMC’s service and Sinemia. But it later backtracked on those plans, causing a lot of subscriber confusion.

AMC’s service is effectively promising that it won’t screw around with pricing or plans for at least a year, so you know what you’re getting. That clearly appeals to some portion of the market, given the number of sign-ups A-List has now seen in a short time.

AMC has been a thorn in MoviePass’s side for some time, having previously threatened legal action, which it said devalued the movie-going experience. It also went on record to state that it had “absolutely no intention” of sharing any of its admissions or concessions revenues with MoviePass. Eventually, MoviePass pulled out of some AMC theaters.

“With 380,000 members enrolled in just three months, AMC Stubs A-List is demonstrating that it encourages moviegoers of all ages, locations and backgrounds to come to movie theatres more often, and they’re bringing family and friends along with them,” said Adam Aron, AMC CEO and President, in a statement today about the milestone news. “The early success of this program is evident as AMC is projecting an attendance increase at our U.S. theatres for the first time in three years. This is very good for AMC, and very good for our guests and movie studio partners,” he added.

Cinematic train wreck, “The Room”, is now on YouTube in its entirety

The Room has been ranked with Plan 9 From Outer Space as a strong contender for the “best” worst movie ever made — and it’s now available in its entirety on YouTube. Written, directed, and starring Tommy Wiseau, The Room belongs in the same category as Plan 9, and Coven (which was immortalized in the 1999 documentary American […]

The Room has been ranked with Plan 9 From Outer Space as a strong contender for the “best” worst movie ever made — and it’s now available in its entirety on YouTube.

Written, directed, and starring Tommy Wiseau, The Room belongs in the same category as Plan 9, and Coven (which was immortalized in the 1999 documentary American Movie) as a paean to moviemaking by people who have no idea how to make a movie.

The combination of passion and ineptitude is what made The Room a cult classic after its release, and what made The Disaster Artist — the James Franco film it inspired so compelling (Ed Wood, the biopic from Tim Burton about the director behind Plan 9 is also amazing).

Writer, actor, and director Tommy Wiseau in a still from “The Room”

In “The Room” Wiseau plays Johnny, an investment banker caught in a bizarre love triangle with his best friend, Mark, played by Greg Sestero, and his fiancee, Lisa, played by Juliette Danielle.

It was Sestero’s book on the making of the film, “The Disaster Artist”, that inspired the eponymous movie directed by Franco and starring his brother Dave and Seth Rogen.

According to The Daily DotSestero and Wiseau are now promoting a straight-to-digital follow-up to their feature debut — a two-part black comedy called “Best F(r)iends”.

Viewers might just be better off watching the original contender for best worst movies, Plan 9, which is also available on YouTube (and below).