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Amazon goes for Zombie Kill of the Day

Posted March 26, 2013 into Telly by John Birmingham

Can this guy play Woody Harrelson, playing Tallahassee in Zombieland? His name is Kirk Ward and he's got just enough crazy in his eyes to do the job. But by asking the question I guarantee the producers of Amazon's six part Zombieland adaptation will hate me.

Yeah, that's right, they read the blog. Everyone does.
Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese went out of their way to give the four actors they've chosen to replace the original Zombieland crew as much of a head start as they can. Which is, not much. That movie was perfectly cast, right down to the cameo by Bill Murray. The series? Don't know, we'll have to see.
I'm being churlish, of course. It's awesome that there's even going to be a 'television' spinoff. I threw those quote marks in there because Zombielaand for TV will never air on a network, not even on cable. Amazon has commissioned the series along with six others, because exclusivity is the new black. If you want to watch the show, you won't be downloading it from Google play or iTunes, you'll be paying the Beast of Bezos.
Actually, I lie. You won't be paying. They're giving it away. I'm sure there's a business model in there somewhere. Amazon has a business model, right? It's not just giving stuff away below cost because… Err, Shut up you.
Anyways, for anybody who is interested, there's an interview with the writer-producers over at Buzzfeed, and although they do sound a little defensive at times –"We found really, really great actors to fill those roles" – it does give the impression that this could be very cool.
For instance, like The Walking Dead, to which they credit Amazon's interest in the series, Zombieland wont have to worry about pulling in its fangs to reach a mass audience. It can be as hard-core as it wants, even though they'll be playing the story for lulz.

"We obviously loved the opportunity to have the creative flexibility that Amazon has given us to do it — you know, we can swear and show blood and violence and do all of the stuff that we couldn't otherwise do on network or basic cable television," Wernick explained. "It really allows us to hit that exact tone of the movie."

I'm kind of interested too that Amazon will be relying on customer feedback via its review function to decide which of the six series it's commissioned will be getting a second series.
Given how borked most online review systems are these days, that's a brave choice.

12 Responses to ‘Amazon goes for Zombie Kill of the Day’

Blarkon reckons...

Posted March 26, 2013

Reading Jaron Lanier's "Who Owns The Future" - where he talks about the ideology that's driving this.

His thesis is complex, but part of it boils down to a core belief within the silicon valley community that paying for information will lead to a repression of free speech. That if technology arises that can force you to pay for movies/books and so on, that technology will eventually be used to stop free expression.

So to answer your question - no, there isn't a business model here. There's a deep seated faith in the internet as "a good thing" and that people can make a living where the content they produce cannot be monetised. Lanier's other thesis is that in reality, as information becomes free, a massive amount of wealth simply evaporates out of the economy and that what he calls "siren servers" (Google/Facebook/Amazon) are the only ones that are going to be making any bucks out of this as they are the ones who benefit most from the demonitization of information.

We also saw this week that a strong First Sale doctorine was upheld by the US Supreme Court, so expect "pay a royalty to the author once, resell the digital product ad-infinitum" to be the standard model for digital media within the next few years.

Lanier also has a bit on why influential geeks in Silicon Valley are so anti-copyright/anti-royalty - which basically boils down to a core belief that "monetizing information (books/music/movies/tv shows) infringes freedom".

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Moko puts forth...

Posted March 26, 2013

Weirdly, I just planned a zombie movie fest for the next few days. Starting with 28 D<span style="line-height: 1.6em;">ays then onto Zombieland.</span>

Moko reckons...

Posted March 26, 2013

What the fuck?

DNABeast mumbles...

Posted March 26, 2013

Hooray. More bugs for me to kill.

I'm still pluggin away to sort these out. Did you cut and paste from somewhere in order to post that comment?

Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 27, 2013

No, but I went back and added spaces etc where I missed them from just bashing the keyboard.

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Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted March 26, 2013

Lanier also suggests that part of the reason this belief has evolved is that for quite some time it's been possible to become quite wealthy in Silicon Valley developing businesses that don't have an actual revenue model.

So it's not that Amazon is sitting there thinking "how can we make money out of this" it's more "lets do this and see if it makes money some day" (which explains Google's approach to stuff like Reader and so on)

As long as there are venture capitalists willing to invest - there will be companies like Zyngna and Instagram who are valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars even though they don't have revenue that makes them worth a fraction of that price.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted March 26, 2013

I get that, but what I dont get are investors, including the big rapacious institutions thousands of miles removed from the Valley, who seem to be happy to subsidize Amazon's welfare dependency. These aren't hacktivists or freetards. They're carnivorous businesses that impose harsh penalties on listed companies that don't everything possible to deliver every cent of 'shareholder' value.

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted March 26, 2013

I find the disconnect between Amazon's profits and its share price to be inex-fucking-plicable.

BrianC mutters...

Posted March 27, 2013

Amazon the website. Is only part of a group of companies. Did you know that Amazon hosts twitter on its servers, It also sells Internet backbone to Facebook and twitter. Amazon inc share price is what it is, because it always! makes money, and always a little bit more. Amazon is the untilities company of the internet. Them and google.

Their buisness model is so closely linked to google as well that the companies feed of each other.

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Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 26, 2013

Amazon is playing an incredibly long game - it stays only marginally profitable so that there's no room for a serious competitor to develop. The prize is becomming the internet version of Wal-Mart. In 10 years when we do 60-70% of all shopping online, guess who we're going to do it with.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted March 26, 2013

Yeah, but see my previous reply.

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TC has opinions thus...

Posted March 26, 2013

Ok, so... a Zombieland series - can't be a bad thing, right? Either it'll be awesome and we'll all rave about it... or it'll be crap and we'll sadly have to look for something else to keep us busy. And as long as Manteresting is still up, that shouldn't be a problem.

As for Amazon's 'business' model, I have to disagree with you, JB. When you look at it closely, they're doing something brand new - they haven't created exclusive product before and they need to prove themselves. As usual, I'll use the drug market analogy to explain all business decisions because it always stacks up.

When you start down the road with a new product, you've gotta give away freebies to prove that it's the shit. Just think for a second about what Amazon are competing against - free to air TV, cable, Apple, DVDs (which they make a crapload of cash from), Quickflix (etc)... and let's not forget torrents. Because torrents are free and therefore are the lowest common denominator. When you bring a new product to the market, you always need to fully understand who you're competing against.

Amazon know this, and so they've brought out a business model that competes against torrents. The real question isn't why they're giving shit away for free (because they're not, not really) - the real question is exactly how they're gonna get our hard earned without us noticing. And how they'll survive the backlash once we realise exactly what's gonig on.

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Sad middle aged man gets very excited at new Buffy book

Posted March 19, 2013 into Telly by John Birmingham

It's not my fault. I can't help it that Buffy was such an awesome show. My kids think so too, and they're younger than me which makes them, by definition, cooler. I'm not sure how much cooler. There is some equation for working it out, but you know, math.

Anyways, iO9 has a great entry on a tome released to mark the 15th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer going to air. A tome one of my kids will totally be getting for a birthday present. Whichever one of them is next on the calendar. The boxed set comes 'packaged with a big envelope of "Slayer Lore," including pages from some of Giles' books and some other cool reproductions and art prints'.

Oh yes, one of these kids is going to enjoy this.

A couple of things I didn't realise until I read the iO9 bit (which, to be fair, they didn't relaise either); Sunnydale is based on the Gaslamp District of San Diego. And in Season 4 the US government collapses, which explains why there was no follow up to the Initiative, I guess.

I am aware there may be some scepticism about all this but I will just add that since Anna started watching Buffy, her interest in the ass-kicking arts has become much more focussed.

Which can only be a good thing, in a Twilight world.

(This justifiiably famous mash up, btw, is one of my favorite things on the internet. I shudder to think of the amount of work that must have gone into it).

19 Responses to ‘Sad middle aged man gets very excited at new Buffy book’

Lulu has opinions thus...

Posted March 19, 2013

"A tome one of my kids will totally be getting for a birthday present"

Will this be like Homer buying Marge a bowling ball for her her birthday?

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BrianC swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 19, 2013

I want this so very badly. One of the greatest epsidoes of TV ever was the episode of buffy where her mums dies. "The Body" i believe it ws called. The silent movie ep, the musical ep, the invisible ep, the wedding... sigh.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted March 19, 2013

We just watched The Body recently. You're right. It was an amazing piece of TV. A script without much dialogue that carried so much meaning. And then, a few days later, we watched the musical ep. Everyone remembers the performances but I'd forgotten how critical it was to lacing together a whole bunch of subplots too

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xenodyssey has opinions thus...

Posted March 19, 2013

I've seen the book at Kinokuniya. It's nice as a collection of material previously available. There is a new hardcover bound book out for Firefly as well that collects the three books that Titan published. Nice for the Browncoats that didn't get the earlier books.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted March 19, 2013

Wait, Titan published that book. Titan are my UK publishers. Hmm...?

BrianC swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 19, 2013

Hmmmm... Deadline you say, well as it turns out i know what would deadline insperational...

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ChrisB reckons...

Posted March 19, 2013

Buffy begat Blade, which then begat Twilight (somehow). It made it cool for kids to like Vampires, I'm not too sure they intended to have vampires 'sparkle' though. Look for the zombie genre to start down this path as well. (ie: Warm Bodies)

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Bunyip mumbles...

Posted March 19, 2013

"....since Anna started watching Buffy, her interest in the ass-kicking arts has become much more focussed."

FTW.

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HAVOCK21 puts forth...

Posted March 19, 2013

HA..shes fkn JUMPABLE THAT WHY YA WATCHED IT!

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HAVOCK21 would have you know...

Posted March 19, 2013

HA..shes fkn JUMPABLE THAT WHY YA WATCHED IT!

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Stevo 73 mumbles...

Posted March 19, 2013

Once More With Feeling (the musical) is simply the best episode and sews together all the ingredients from that season and ultimately is a lead in for the finale of the season. That and it was great fun - Our family (and our nerd friends) have burned out two copies of that disc, yep we have played the shit out of it...

Oh and I back Havock jumpable indeed.

Twilight, bah!

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ShaneAlpha is gonna tell you...

Posted March 19, 2013

Once more with feeling is the second best episode of Buffy ( and I have the tracks on my ipod).

Best Buffy episode is always "Hush".

"Once more with feeling" comes second with "The Body" a very close third.

I started watching Buffy on channel seven and continued watching it even when they pushed it to the 10.30 pm cult t.v. time slot. These young people with their itunes and torrents don't know how easy they have it. Television died a little when Buffy ended.

Stevo 73 mutters...

Posted March 19, 2013

Hush was very good, and I found it funny and a little freaky at the same time. The Body also ranks highly, but my money is still on Once More With Feeling (soundtrack on the Ipod too) The all singing all, dancing demon is just too cool!

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Darth Greybeard ducks in to say...

Posted March 19, 2013

(I kept a Mr Pointy on the wall behind my desk. The very few who asked were told it was "just in case, but we haven't really had a vampire problem for a while now." Oddly, I kept my job.)

damian reckons...

Posted March 19, 2013

And that, people, is how it's done!

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Sparty puts forth...

Posted March 20, 2013

Once more with feeling- best single "out of the box" episode of any show EVAR!

Like yous say, not just using tunes but being teh keystone epsiode of practically the entire show.

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted March 20, 2013

Have they read the rest of the Buffy story that was continued in Joss Whedon produced and co-authored trade paperback Buffy Season 8.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer_Season_Eight

available here in Melbourne at Minatour...

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ShaneAlpha puts forth...

Posted March 21, 2013

Yes, I have season 8. Bit of a let down, other than the Buffy tries girls thing. One of the best Xander lines there. "My eye! My beautiful burning eye!"

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rdougy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 21, 2013

I dont know how I would feel if Kate Beckinsale's Seline had to go up against Buffy- I'd be devestated if either one of them didnt survive bahaha

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