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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 is gonna tell you...

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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Once Was Moko would have you know...

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>

Once Was Moko ducks in to say...

Posted March 26, 2013

What the fuck?

DNABeast mutters...

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?

Once Was Moko mumbles...

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 asserts...

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 mutters...

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 mutters...

Posted March 26, 2013

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

BrianC ducks in to say...

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 mutters...

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 puts forth...

Posted March 26, 2013

Yeah, but see my previous reply.

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TC would have you know...

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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