A different kind of Sundance, and WWE goes to Peacock

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In past years, many Sundance premieres happened at packed screenings at the Egyptian Theater in Park City. This year, the famous festival will be a mostly virtual experience. Photo by diamond-mind (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Sundance Film Festival is a rite of passage for many independent filmmakers and reporters and critics who cover the movie industry. But this year there will be no standing ovations in Park City screening rooms. 

Like many other events, Sundance has shifted to a mostly virtual experience because of the pandemic. This means there will be far fewer films on offer to buy. This year there are 60 films seeking distribution, as opposed to 100 last year.  

The virtual festival also means there won’t be any buzzy premieres followed by late-night bidding wars. There may also be limited interest from big studios because most movie theaters are still closed. It seems far more likely that streaming services will scoop up most of the films on offer. 

In other streaming news, HBO Max released some year-end numbers. The number of activated users, that’s people who have downloaded the HBO Max app, doubled since September. That growth is attributed to the release of “Wonder Woman 1984” on HBO Max and the streamer finally making carriage deals with Roku and Amazon. 

Peacock has also seen recent growth after “The Office” moved from Netflix to the NBC streaming platform. Peacock will also become the new home of wrestling powerhouse WWE, which is known for its very loyal fans. WWE’s move to Peacock may signal that other niche streamers will soon have to find a bigger home.  

One major sports event NBC is still trying to figure out is the Olympics. It’s still unknown if the Olympics will happen this year, but NBC would very much like them to, especially as a way to draw more viewers to the ad-supported Peacock.

Credits

Guest:
Matthew Belloni - Editor - @MattBelloni

Host:
Kim Masters

Producer:
Kaitlin Parker