David vs. Googliath
Google can now predict a movie’s box office success a month before its release with 94-percent accuracy – although 48 percent of moviegoers don’t decide what they’ll be watching until the day they make the trip to the cinema.
Google analyzes search patterns to forecast opening weekend box office revenue, according to a blog post by Andrea Chen, Principal Industry Analyst for Google. Subsequent weekend performance can be predicted with 90 percent accuracy. So if a movie’s not garnering much web buzz, it just might bomb like Battleship.
Apple in Your Eye
Just this weekend we were sitting around wondering when exactly someone would create another Steve Jobs biopic. We already have the indie one starring Ashton Kutcher and the fast-talking, sure-to-be-sexist incarnation dreamt up by Aaron Sorkin. What we really need is a third one that can make fun of the other two.
Luckily Funny or Die has come to our rescue, announcing that they’ll be putting a full-length comedic biopic about Mr. Jobs online on April 15th.
Look out, Hollywood screenwriters: the robots are coming for your jobs, too.
Cleverbot is an artificial intelligence robot that Internet users can converse with and, more frequently, troll until it says funny stuff. But one filmmaker, Chris Wilson, saw the creative potential in Cleverbot and decided to co-write a short film with it. It might just be the first movie written by a machine.
Not only is Starbucks accepting payments via Square, the coffee conglomerate is now also selling the Square credit card reader for $10 at its retail locations. [New York Times]
Spotify has suspended its music download service in the U.K. Users can still stream music, but are sent to an unhelpful FAQ page when they attempt to purchase it. [Pocket-Lint]
Kim Dotcom says the U.S. “planted” evidence, encouraging him to keep copyrighted files on the Megaupload servers but then punishing him when he did so. [Ars Technica]
That indie Steve Jobs film, that will star Ashton Kutcher and be an inevitable flop that we will still watch anyway, is slated for release in April. Who wants to go with us? [Wall Street Journal]
The New York state comptroller is suing microchip company Qualcomm for data about its political expenditures with the hopes it can bring more transparency to corporate political spending. [New York Times]
When not blogging from a prison cell, antivirus software creator John McAfee is reportedly busy planning the next iteration of his media blitz: The Hollywood Reporter writes that Mr. McAfee has successfully sold his life rights to a TV production company called Impact Future Media.
Mr. McAfee has skillfully played the media these past few months, getting a Wired reporter to speak on his behalf and telling his story to Gizmodo before inviting Vice to join him in his escape from Belize. That decision ended with his capture when a Vice employee published an iPhone photo still containing the metadata that revealed his location. Mr. McAfee still managed to temporarily convince Vice‘s photographer to lie for him.
Twitter is blocking its first account: Tweets from the neo-Nazi group Besseres Hannover are no longer viewable in German. [Quartz]
For a company that hasn’t done a damn thing, Color Labs inspires a lot of rumor-mongering. Yesterday the talk was all about whether the startup was winding down. Today, the scuttlebutt suggests Apple might buy the ill-fated photo-sharing startup. [The Next Web]
Pour one out for the concept of “going online,” which is increasingly archaic and soon to be utterly foreign to the youngs, like cassettes and modesty. [AllThingsD]
Please share Betabeat’s delight in this collection of “wonderfully ridiculous” movie computers. Obviously, the supposedly state-of-the-art hunk of junk from the 1974 classic The Towering Inferno takes the cake. [Wired]
Silicon Valley has its very own cover band, composed of VCs and entrepreneurs. But what did you expect? We live in a world where Dennis Hopper once did an Ameriprise commercial. [Wall Street Journal]
Michael Gallagher just wanted to tap into the zeitgeist.
The 23-year-old filmmaker–known for his popular YouTube series, Totally Sketch–is about to release his first full-length feature film, a low budge horror flick called Smiley. But what should amount to buzzy excitement leading up to the film’s launch has been eclipsed by personal attacks on Mr. Gallagher made by notorious message board 4chan and hacktivist collective Anonymous.
The reason? Mr. Gallagher painted both 4chan and Anonymous as the villains of Smiley. Obviously, this didn’t sit well with either group.
Kickstarter is looking more and more like the place for top talent to find production outside of the creative limits of studio systems and record labels. Earlier this week, a release went out heralding the arrival of neo-soul legend Cody Chestnutt’s first album in a decade, funded through Kickstarter. Today, it’s Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Being John Malkovich screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, teaming up with the ousted showrunner of Community for a new movie through the crowdfunding platform.
Apple in Your Eye
One Steve Jobs biopic isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? TWO Steve Jobs biopics. At least according to Hollywood.
Though it’s been widely-rumored since late last year, a press release issued by Sony Pictures yesterday confirmed what is either your worst nightmare or dream come true, depending on how pearl-clutchy you are about the tech industry: Aaron Sorkin will be adapting Walter Isaacson’s bestselling biography of Steve Jobs for Sony Pictures. We’re positive it will be every bit as packed with heavy-handed dramatic irony and “so bad it’s good” euphoria as The Social Network is.
The first line in Indie Game: The Movie, a Sundance-winning documentary that chronicles the struggles of independent game developers, is the following: “Are you fucking kidding me?“
That incredulous statement, spat from the mouth of a 30-year-old game programmer named Tommy Refenes, punctuates the entire 96-minute film, a chronicle of the tumultuous series of ups and downs encountered by a handful of indie game developers leading up to the releases of their games.
The film was screened at the IFC on 6th Avenue today, and we were one of only three people in the theatre. It’s a shame, too–even though our video game knowledge extends mostly to old school games like Super Mario and the more popular contemporary Xbox games (Portal and Borderlands are our favs), we still found the documentary to be a fascinating glimpse into just how much time, energy and passion goes into making the kinds of games we play every day.